Injury Claims & Additur: A Florida Judge’s Power To Increase Jury Awards

Florida jurors deciding a jury award amount that may require an increase from the judge.

Your personal injury case has just been finaled. The jury found in your favor but only granted you $50,000 for the losses you’ve encountered in your personal injury case. All the evidence you provided clearly showed that you sustained $150,000 in damages. 

You’re unhappy with the financial outcome and feel like the jury gave a senseless low ball award. Now that the award is final, you begin to think, “Did those jurors make a mistake?”

Upon request, a person filing a personal injury lawsuit can ask the judge to review and reconsider the compensation award. But how does this work and can you be awarded more than what the jury gave you? Allow the West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Fetterman Law to explain a special power the judge has called “additur.”

Mistakes can happen in the Florida court system

Mishaps are a part of life. Unfortunately, mistakes are a part of the court system as well. Jurors are non-legal professionals who make decisions that affect the lives of their peers. 

Thankfully, when a misunderstanding takes place during the course of a juror’s duty, judges are there to remedy situations that may cross the line.

This is why Florida trial court judges can make changes to jury awards for injury claims when they are asked to enforce their power called additur. 

What is additur?

Most legal terms are in Latin and “additur” is Latin for “it is increased.” Below is a helpful definition of the term: 

  • Additur:  A legal term referring to a state trial court judge’s procedure of adding additional damages to the initial amount awarded by a jury. 

In the judicial system, additur does not apply to personal injury lawsuits on a federal level. A 1935 U.S. Supreme Court case ruled that the additur procedure violates the Seventh Amendment.

What does Florida law say about increasing a jury award/”additur”?

First things first. Just because you ask the judge to increase your award, it does not mean an increase will happen overnight. 

According to Florida Statutes 768.74, it is the judge’s responsibility, upon proper request, to review the amount of the jury award for a personal injury case to determine if the amount is excessive or inadequate. 

Florida law states the judge must consider five (5) factors, including the following:

  1. Whether the jury’s award was issued out of prejudice, passion, or corruption;
  2. Whether the jury ignored evidence or misunderstood the issues of the case;
  3. Whether the jury arrived at the award amount by speculation
  4. Whether the amount is related to the amount of injuries proved at trial
  5. Whether the amount is supported by the evidence presented

Additionally, the Florida judge must provide findings to support the increased jury award damages. To request the judge perform this additur procedure, you’d need to ask the judge to do so in the form of a motion. 

Essentially, you’re asking for a new trial or rehearing of your personal injury case.  If the judge agrees with your request, the judge will order an increase of the jury award for your personal injury damages. 

It’s hard to know what to say and how to say it to a judge without consulting an experienced West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer. The right injury attorney would be familiar with the process for requesting a jury award increase and would have the ability to prepare your motion for additur in a timely manner.

Before picking the first lawyer or law firm you scroll across on the internet, be sure to review our 6 important questions to ask when hiring a personal injury attorney to make sure you’re getting the best legal representation you need. Feel free to use these questions during your free consultation with the experienced injury attorneys at Fetterman Law

Requesting a jury award increase in Florida court

Florida judge reviewing request to increase a jury award in a personal injury case.

Florida Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 1.530(b) states, any party may file a motion for additur within 15 days after the return of the verdict in a jury action. 

According to Rule 1.535, the motion you file with the Florida court must include:

  • The Florida law under which it is being made
  • The amount you claim the jury award should be
  • Specific evidence that supports the increased jury award amount you state; or 
  • A statement of the improper elements of damages included in the jury’s award

If the judge grants the increase in your jury award, the judge must state the law he or she relied on to grant the additur.

Finally, if the other party is negatively affected by the judge’s order granting you additur, that party may reject the award and elect a new trial within 15 days after the order.

Don’t settle for less than what you may deserve from a jury award

If you’re unhappy with the amount of the jury award for your personal injury damages, contact our West Palm Beach personal injury lawyers at Fetterman Law to request an increase from the Florida judge and help make the situation right.

With law offices in North Palm Beach and Port St. Lucie, we can review any personal injury case in the state of Florida and work hard to request a jury award increase on your behalf so you can reclaim your life and move forward. Call us at 561-845-2510 or contact us online for a free consultation.