Since the Texas insurance industry began its’ full scale assault on the Texas civil justice system in the mid-1990s Texas juries have seen far fewer personal injury cases. In 1997 state courts saw 3,369 jury trials compared to less than 1,200 in 2012. The federal court system experienced the same decrease, trying 360 civil jury trials in 1997 compared to just 135 in 2010. Texas courts have thus experienced decrease in jury trials approximately 2/3.
While the jury trial of the more common tort claims such as auto accident has certainly decreased the biggest decline has been in the jury trial of defective products that maim or kill such as those involving faulty medical devices, defective equipment or unsafe cars.Defective product jury trials have declined by 88% since 1997.
The most often cited reasons for the sharp decline in jury trials are changes in the law and an increasingly activist appellate court system.
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