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What Happens When a Jury Gets It Wrong?

In most Florida personal injury cases that are tried to a jury, once both parties have concluded their presentation of the evidence, and the jury returns a verdict, that verdict is final. However, Florida lawmakers recognize that jurors can make mistakes, and thus they have provided a mechanism for parties to petition the court in these situations.

Remittur and Additur

Under Florida Statutes section 768.74, after a jury determines that liability exists and returns a verdict, a party can ask the court to “review the amount of such award to determine if such amount is excessive or inadequate in light of the facts and circumstances which were presented to the [jury].”

If the judge determines that the amount awarded by the jury was inadequate, he or she can order an additur, which increases the amount of the jury’s verdict. Similarly, if the judge finds that the jury’s verdict was excessive, he or she can order a remittur, which reduces the jury’s verdict. If the party asking for review does not agree with the new figure, the judge will then order a new trial on the issue of damages only.

Section 768.74 provides several things a judge should consider when determining if a jury’s verdict was reasonable, including:

  • Whether it was a product of “prejudice, passion, or corruption”;
  • Whether the jury ignored certain evidence;
  • Whether the jury considered facts it should not have, or relied on speculation in arriving at the verdict amount;
  • Whether the awarded amount is reasonably related to the damages proved at trial; and
  • Whether the amount awarded is supported by the evidence presented.

A recent case illustrates the court’s willingness to review a jury’s verdict when the verdict clearly did not take into account all of the evidence presented by the plaintiff.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured in a car accident and filed a personal injury case against the defendant, seeking compensation for past and future medical expenses, as well as past and future pain and suffering. At trial, the plaintiff presented evidence establishing that he was injured in the accident and suffered damages as a result.

When the jury returned a verdict, it only provided an award for past and future medical expenses. The plaintiff asked the court to review the award, arguing that there was undisputed evidence of past and future pain and suffering that the jury had ignored. The trial court denied the plaintiff’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

On appeal, the court reversed the lower court’s decision regarding past pain and suffering, and it affirmed the decision regarding future pain and suffering. The court explained that the plaintiff presented evidence that he had suffered as a result of the accident, and the jury did not take this evidence into consideration. However, the court acknowledged that the plaintiff did not present any evidence suggesting that he would continue to experience pain and suffering. Thus, the court held the plaintiff was not entitled to future pain and suffering damages.

Have You Been Injured in a Florida Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Florida car accident, you may be entitled to compensation through a Florida personal injury lawsuit. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, you may receive compensation for past and future medical expenses and lost wages, as well as for any pain and suffering you endured as a result of the accident. In some especially egregious cases, punitive damages may be appropriate. The dedicated South Florida injury attorneys at the law firm of Cecere Santana have decades of combined experience handling Florida car accident cases, and they know what it takes to succeed on their clients’ behalf. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today, call 800-753-5529 or complete our online form and an attorney will reach out to you.

More Blog Posts:

Court Finds Golf Cart Accident Was Covered Under Plaintiff’s Insurance Policy, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published February 9, 2018.

Court Finds Student Attending School in Another State Is Covered under Parents’ Florida Insurance Policy, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published January 10, 2018.

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