When a jury renders a verdict in a Florida car accident case, the jury’s decision regarding the defendant’s liability to the plaintiff is generally insulated from review, absent extraordinary circumstances. However, once the jury returns a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, the award amount that the jury reaches can be subject to a judge’s review under certain circumstances.
Under Florida Statute section 768.74, a party can request a judge to review the jury’s award amount and ask that it be increased or decreased. If the judge agrees with the requesting party, the judge will order an additur (an increase) or a remittur (a decrease) in the award amount. Then, the party that requested the additur or remittur has the choice of accepting the revised award amount, or, if they believe the result to still be unsatisfactory, a new trial on the issue of damages will be ordered.
When a party asks a judge to order an additur or remittur, the judge will consider certain factors, which are outlined in section 768.74. Essentially, the judge will determine if the award was a product of “prejudice, passion, or corruption,” whether the jury considered evidence it should not have, and whether the award amount was supported by the evidence. A recent case illustrates a situation in which the judge agreed with a plaintiff that a jury’s award amount was insufficient.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was injured in a car accident. The plaintiff filed a personal injury case against the other driver, seeking compensation for past medical expenses, future medical expenses, past pain and suffering, and future pain and suffering.
At trial, the plaintiff presented evidence showing that he sustained injuries. There was also evidence presented that the plaintiff endured pain and suffering after the accident and that he would continue to experience ongoing pain in the future. In response, the defense presented evidence that the plaintiff was fully healed and would not continue to experience pain in the future.
The jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff and awarded him damages for past and future medical expenses, but not for past or future pain and suffering. The plaintiff requested an additur on both claims, and the trial judge granted the request.
On appeal, the defendant claimed that the plaintiff should not have been entitled to the additur on either claim. The court, however, agreed with the plaintiff that there was no evidence contradicting the plaintiff’s evidence that he experienced pain and suffering after the accident but before trial. Thus, the trial court’s additur regarding past pain and suffering was appropriate. However, the court also noted that the defendant did present evidence contesting the plaintiff’s claim that he will continue to experience pain and suffering. Thus, the jury was acting within its power to reject the plaintiff’s claim for future pain and suffering, and an additur was not appropriate for this claim.
Have You Been Injured in a South Florida Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a South Florida car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for your injuries, including past and future medical issues, lost wages, and any pain and suffering you have endured. The dedicated South Florida personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Friedman, Rodman & Frank have extensive experience representing victims and their families in a wide range of injury cases, including Florida car accidents and slip-and-fall accidents. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with an attorney, call 877-448-8585 today.
More Blog Posts:
Court Discusses Official Government Immunity in Recent Wrongful Death Case, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published February 19, 2017.
Appellate Court Discusses the Government’s Responsibility to Maintain Safe Roadways, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published February 5, 2018.