NC Lawyers Weekly recently published an article taking a closer look at how juror knowledge and attitudes regarding mental illness are slowly evolving when it comes to personal injury trials.
It's an interesting read as it details some of the challenges that mental health stigmas have played in verdicts and in awarding damages. Article author, Bill Cresenzo, interviewed four local attorneys for his story, "Jurors' Views Reflect Evolving Attitude Toward Mental Health." This article highlights Jeremy Wilson's perspective, Ward and Smith's Personal Injury Practice leader, but you can read the entire article, behind the paywall, here.
On the subject of mental health, Jeremy was noted as saying that "[it] has become an important focus in culture, and the stigma associated with people who reach out to mental health professionals has dropped. Juries are more open to considering the fact that a plaintiff is getting mental health care." He goes on to say that "North Carolina law has historically recognized that when people suffer physical injuries from an accident, the pain and suffering related to those injuries are also recoverable damages."
The article underscores this fact by highlighting a 2005 North Carolina Court of Appeals ruling that declared "pain and suffering damages are intended to redress a wide array of injuries ranging from physical pain to anxiety, depression, and the resulting adverse impact upon the injured party's lifestyle."
To drive the point home regarding how mental health should be taken into account concerning pain and suffering, the article mentioned a case where Jeremy represented two elderly victims of a home invasion robbery that was orchestrated by their home health care aid.
Much of their testimony focused on their trauma, not just during the invasion, but also its lingering effects that they suffer to this day.
The jury awarded $750,000 in damages solely based on the pain and suffering the couple endured, including their continued psychological trauma since the incident. The case is now under appeal.
Jeremy has extensive experience litigating claims for wrongful death, serious personal injury, and a broad range of civil litigation before state and federal courts, including cases involving vehicle accidents, professional malpractice, premises liability, products liability, and class actions, among other areas. He has also litigated numerous cases involving complex insurance coverage issues.