Remittitur and additur are two words that the many Panama City residents have probably never heard before. Even so, they represent important legal concepts that can have a big impact on any personal injury case. A typical accident and injury case goes as follows:
- Someone is injured in an auto accident or other incident;
- The victim demands compensation from the person or company responsible for the injury;
- The responsible party refuses to pay fair compensation;
- The two parties go to trial to determine who was at fault and what should be paid;
- During the trial both sides present evidence to a jury in an effort to convince them of their client's position;
- The jury hands down a verdict based on the evidence presented at trial.
This is a very rough sketch of what happens in a typical personal injury case. What you may not know is that after this process, if the judge disagrees with the jury's verdict, the judge has the power to adjust it through either remittitur or additur. If the judge thinks the verdict is too high, he or she can reduce it through remittitur. And if the judge thinks the verdict is too low, he or she can add to it through additur.
Florida's Remittitur and Additur Laws
Florida has two different sets of laws dealing with remittitur and additur. One set is specifically for personal injury cases involving cars, and the second is for all other cases. The set we are dealing with here are the remittitur and additur laws related to general personal injury cases. Under Florida law, if after a jury delivers a verdict, and the judge determines it is too little or too much, the judge can adjust it up or down. The court won't adjust the verdict by adding to it or taking from it unless one of the parties makes a motion to do so, and in deciding whether to adjust the verdict the judge has to consider the following:
- Whether the award is too large or too small because of some bias, prejudice, or corruption by the jury;
- Whether the jury clearly ignored the facts and evidence presented during the trial;
- Whether the jury used speculation or conjecture to come to their verdict;
- Whether there is a reasonable connection between the evidence presented and the amount of the verdict; and
- Whether the verdict is the product of logic based on the evidence presented at trial.
If the court decides to adjust the verdict after a trial, and the party affected adversely as a result disagrees, the court will order an entirely new trial. In passing this law for personal injury cases, the Florida legislature emphasized that remittitur and additur should only be used with caution and discretion. As one can imagine, this law can be considered unfortunate for a party that wins a big case, only to have it reduced by the court. In fact, at least one litigant challenged the law calling it unconstitutional, but the Florida Supreme Court upheld the law.
Reach Out to Us for Help
There are many aspects to a Panama City area personal injury case that requires a professional competent attorney. The Pittman Firm will fight for every victim to be fairly compensated following any type of accident.