Instructing jurors on general damages in personal injury cases: Problems and Possibilities

Roselle L. Wissler, Patricia F. Kuehn, Michael Saks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The authors consider instructions that courts do or could give to jurors to guide them in making awards for general damages in civil litigation. The authors review the nature and content of current instructions about the factors that should (or should not) affect jurors' awards, as well as the limited body of empirical research on the impact of these instructions. The most noteworthy feature of current instructions regarding damages is the lack of guidance they provide. The consequence appears to be awards that have considerable variability and that are influenced by improper considerations. The authors also discuss research on the effectiveness of alternative forms of jury instructions and trial procedures in preventing or reducing these problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)712-742
Number of pages31
JournalPsychology, Public Policy, and Law
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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