Baring any extraordinary circumstance, the verdict of any jury in a Florida auto accident case pertaining to the defendant’s liabilities to the plaintiff is protected from any form of review. In the event, however, that the verdict reached by the jury was in favor of the plaintiff, the monetary reward pegged by the jury is subjected to review by the judge in the event of certain circumstances.
According to Florida Statute section 768.74, any of the parties can ask the judge for an upward or downward review of award amount reached by the jury. In the event that the judge reasons with the requesting party, he/she can order that the award amount be increased or reduced. When the judge orders an increase, this is called an additur. If it is a decrease this is called remittur. The requesting party can either accept the revised amount or if they are still not okay with it, a new trial centering around the issue of damages will commence.
When an additur or remittur is requested by any party, the judge must put into account certain factors before coming to a verdict. This is listed in section 768.74. Basically, the judge is required to ascertain if the reward was influenced by passion, prejudice or corruption. The judge is also required to ascertain if the jury had put into consideration evidence that it should not have. And if the award amount was backed up by evidence.
The case illustrated below is an example of additur where the judge decided that the amount was insufficient;
The fact of the case
The plaintiff had been injured in an auto crash and then filed a personal injury suit against the offending driver. The plaintiff was requesting compensation for past and future medical expense as well as past and future pain and suffering.
During the trial, the plaintiff presented to the court evidence that he had sustained injuries during the crash. He also presented evidence showing that he endured pain and suffering following the accident and that such pain would continue into the future. The defense, in response, had presented to the court evidence showing that the plaintiff had been healed and would not experience pain at any time in the future.
Although the verdict of the jury had been in favor of the plaintiff, they only awarded him damages for his past and future medical expenses. There was no award for past or future pain and suffering. The plaintiff, unsatisfied with this verdict had requested an additur. This was to be on both claims. After due consideration, the judge had granted the request.
Appealing the judge’s judgment, the defense had insisted that the plaintiff should not have been awarded the additur on either claim. The court had argued that since there was no contradicting evidence to the claim of the plaintiff that he experienced pain and suffering following the auto crash, it regarded the additur as appropriate.
The court, however, noted that sufficient evidence was presented by the defendant contesting the plaintiff claims. Therefore, the jury had been acting within its authority to turn down the plaintiff’s claim of future pain and suffering. This meant that an additur was not right for the claim.
If you or any of your loved one have been involved in an auto crash, then you should hire a personal injury attorney in Florida to defend your claim. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and injuries. A personal injury attorney in Florida is in the best position to get the compensation that you rightly deserve.