Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Victims often don't collect large verdicts

An analysis of top verdicts in Pinellas shows few people walk away rich. Most settle for considerably less.
A St. Petersburg Times review of some of the top verdicts in Pinellas County history shows that few people wring every penny out of a large jury award. Most cases are settled for far less while an appeal is pending, sometimes years after the verdict. Some people never collect anything.
Pinellas is hardly unique. The same holds true for Florida and the nation, lawyers say.
In a nine-year period ending in 1995, the state Comptroller's Office estimated that a jury award was paid in 36 percent of cases with punitive damages. In the remaining 64 percent, the money either could not be collected or had yet to be collected.The study showed that total collections were only 13.2 cents on the dollar.

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