Articles Posted in Tips for Lawyers

The famed psychologist Daniel Kahneman has garnered much praise this year for his book entitled “Thinking, Fast and Slow.” The text is essentially a summary of the man’s lifetime of work and is an ideal primer on the current state of human knowledge as it relates to human thinking and decision making. Kahneman earned his place among psychology’s giants first and foremost for his work on discovering and defining “heuristics”-systematic errors that all humans make when reaching decisions. In fact, it was his work on heuristics with Amos Tversky that led to his winning the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics.

Mr. Kahneman’s work has implications in a wide range of areas, including in personal injury lawsuits (of which all birth injury cases fall). In Thinking, Kahneman discussed a concept known as “anchoring.” Anchoring is a heuristic whereby individuals are prone to be influenced by suggestions, ideas, or figures they are exposed to immediately before making a decision. That influence exists in a wide range of contexts, even when the individuals are specifically told that the exposure might influence their thinking. In this way, it is one of the most reliable and robust principles measure in experimental psychology.

Usually anchoring influence occurs when individuals need to quantify something-such as the value of damages in a birth injury lawsuit. When forced to estimate a value, an anchoring value will be influential. For example, in the most common anchoring experiment a research participant will be asked two questions in a very specific order. Those two questions might be something like this:

A medical malpractice seminar will be held in Phoenix, Arizona by the American Association for Justice (AAJ). The seminar will cover birth injury lawsuits and will be held from January 30-31, 2009.

To sign up, click here.

Thornton v. Garcini, No. 107028 presented the question as to whether record contained sufficient evidence to support jury’s verdict in favor of plaintiff in action alleging negligent infliction of emotional distress arising out of death to plaintiff’s son during child birth. While defendant argued that expert witness testimony was necessary to prove instant claim, Appellate Court found that, unlike medical malpractice claims, expert testimony was not necessary to establish severity of plaintiff’s emotional distress. This third district decision will have a great impact on birth injury decisions.

A Court has reinstated a medical malpractice birth injury lawsuit filed by a Las Vegas mother whose child suffered brain damage during birth. The suit was originally dismissed because it was brought after the four-year statute of limitations. However, the Court clarified that the applicable statute of limitations is ten years where the child suffers brain damage or a birth defect.

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