Florida Appeals Court Overturns Unsupported Additur Award in Traffic Wreck Case

4452373616_333046b36d_b cygnus921 Foter.com CC BYFlorida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals has overturned an additur award after the trial court failed to provide its findings in support of the additional damages. In Ferrer v. La Serna, a woman was apparently injured when her vehicle was struck by another car in Florida. A few days after the traffic collision, the woman sought medical treatment from her physician. The doctor diagnosed the woman with a neck injury and found that the woman’s spine was afflicted with a degenerative condition. According to the physician, although the crash did not cause the degenerative condition, it did cause the woman to begin suffering symptoms.

The woman’s doctor recommended that she refrain from receiving chiropractic care for her car accident injuries. According to the physician, such adjustments could potentially aggravate her underlying spinal condition. Against the advice of her doctor, the woman purportedly saw a chiropractor several times per week for multiple months.

About one year after the car accident, the woman began experiencing pain in her forearm. Although her doctor stated he believed the pain was related to her neck injury, he could not objectively correlate the harm to her traffic accident injuries.

The hurt woman later filed a negligence lawsuit against the man who purportedly caused the car accident. In her complaint, the injured woman sought more than $11,000 in damages for her past and future medical bills from the defendant. At trial, a medical expert for the defendant also stated he was unable to connect the woman’s radiating forearm pain to the automobile crash. Despite this, the medical expert said he was certain the collision caused the woman’s symptoms.

At the close of the case, the jury awarded the woman $8,000 in damages. After that, the woman filed a motion for additur. Such a motion asks a trial court to increase the amount of damages awarded by a jury in lieu of ordering a new trial. The trial court granted the woman’s motion and issued an additional award of more than $3,000.

On appeal to Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal, the defendant claimed the trial court committed error when it failed to provide its findings in support of the additional damages award. The appellate court stated it was only permitted to reverse the additur award if the trial court abused its discretion. Next, the Court of Appeals stated Section 768.043 of the Florida Statutes permits a trial court to grant an award of additur where the amount of damages issued by a jury “was clearly inadequate.” The court then discussed the factors enumerated in the statute.

The appellate court next stated a trial court must provide findings in support of an additur award. Since the trial court did not do so, nor did it explain why additur was chosen instead of a new trial, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the lower court’s order awarding the woman an additur and remanded the case with instructions to reinstate the damages award that was issued by the jury.

If you or someone you love was injured in a South Florida car crash, you should contact a skilled personal injury attorney who can advise you about your rights and advocate on your behalf. To discuss your situation with a knowledgeable Miami car accident lawyer, call the hardworking advocates at Friedman, Rodman & Frank, P.A. at (305) 448-8585 or contact us online.

Additional Resources:

Ferrer v. La Serna, Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 4th Dist. 2015

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