Can a Judge Review a Florida Jury’s Decision?

In most Florida personal injury cases, once a jury comes to a decision and enters a verdict, the case is over. Generally speaking, the jury’s decision regarding whether the defendant should be held liable to the plaintiff is fairly insulated from review and can only be overturned in the rarest of circumstances.

There are some situations, however, in which a jury’s decision regarding an award amount is subject to a judge’s review. Thus, if a jury finds that the defendant is liable to the plaintiff, enters judgment in the plaintiff’s favor, and then enters an award too large or too small, the judge can review the jury’s award. Under Florida Statute section 768.74, if the judge determines that the award was not appropriate, the judge can then order a remittur (reduction) or an additur (increase) in the award amount.

Section 768.74 lays out several considerations that a judge should take into account when asked to review a jury’s award. These include:

  • Whether the award is the product of “prejudice, passion, or corruption”;
  • Whether it appears that the jury ignored certain evidence;
  • Whether the jury took into account improper considerations;
  • Whether the award bears a reasonable relation to the damages proven at trial; and
  • Whether the award is supported by the evidence.

If the judge agrees that the award was not proper and orders an adjustment, the party requesting review of the award can opt to have a new trial on the issue of damages if they are not satisfied with the judge’s adjustment. A recent case illustrates the concept of additur after a jury failed to award certain damages to a plaintiff in a car accident case.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was involved in a car accident that was caused by the defendant. The plaintiff filed a personal injury case against the defendant, seeking compensation for his past and future medical expenses, as well as for his past and future pain and suffering.

At trial, the plaintiff presented evidence of the medical expenses he incurred and would likely incur in the future. He also presented evidence of his past pain and suffering. After the trial, the jury awarded the plaintiff compensation for past and future medical expenses, but it did not award him any compensation for past or future pain and suffering. The plaintiff sought an additur, claiming that there was undisputed evidence of his past and future pain and suffering.

The court agreed with the plaintiff in part, explaining that the jury’s award of zero dollars for the plaintiff’s past pain and suffering was insufficient because the plaintiff presented undisputed evidence. However, the court rejected the plaintiff’s claim for future pain and suffering, noting that there was defense evidence contesting these damages.

Have You Been Injured in a 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. The dedicated Florida injury attorneys at the law firm of Frankl Kominsky are experienced in bringing all types of Florida car accident claims, and they are familiar with the procedural rules that can give their clients an edge at trial. We are also prepared to file the necessary post-trial motions as well as appeal your case to a higher court, if necessary. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with an attorney, call 561-660-9562 today.

See Additional Blog Posts:

Florida Appeals Court Reinstates Jury’s Verdict Despite Defendant’s Lack of Testimony, South Florida Injury Attorneys Blog, January 17, 2018.

Florida Court Requires Insurance Company to Provide Coverage to Victim of Golf Cart Accident, South Florida Injury Attorneys Blog, February 7, 2018.

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