What Is Additur & Remittitur?

During a personal injury trial in Portland, you may hear the terms additur and remittitur. These terms refer to options both parties have to request a different jury verdict. If the jury’s verdict does not satisfy one of the parties, it is possible to file a motion for the trial court to either increase the verdict (additur) or reduce the jury verdict (remittitur). Understanding when these options may be available to you could help you get the most for your case.

The Point of Additur and Remittitur Requests

The government wants the legal process to be as efficient as possible. This is the reason class action and mass tort lawsuits exist, for example, to combine multiple cases against the same defendant to save time and money. Additur and remittitur are also examples of how the courts conserve resources.

Requesting an entirely new trial hampers the efficiency of judicial administration. New trials can be lengthy processes that may have the exact same end results as the original trials. Additur and remittitur help prevent delays in final decisions and increased costs to parties involved. Instead of requesting a brand-new trial, a party can request the judge to either increase or decrease the verdict in a civil trial. A new trial will serve as a last resort.

Filing a Motion for Additur

Additur is the power the trial court has to increase the amount of an award that a jury verdict decided. Additur is a condition if a judge denies a motion for a new trial. The defendant has to consent to additur during a civil trial, but the plaintiff does not. Only state justice systems permit additur. The federal system does not allow this motion. Additur is only appropriate when the amount the jury decided is grossly inadequate to cover the victim’s damages, counts as a miscarriage of justice, or appears to be from prejudice, discrimination, corruption, or mistake.

It is not possible or appropriate to request an additur just because of a low verdict amount. Most states will reduce a plaintiff’s recovery award based on the facts of the case, such as the comparative negligence of the plaintiff. A judge also cannot exchange his judgment for the jury verdict just because he or she does not agree. Additur is only available to parties in Oregon if the amount offered with the jury verdict is grossly low or came about from some form of injustice to the plaintiff.

Filing a Motion for Remittitur

Remittitur aims to reduce a jury award the judge believes is excessive. If, as a matter of law, the monetary damages a jury awards are grossly excessive, a judge had the right to demand that a plaintiff file a motion for remittitur. It will not matter if the plaintiff wants to remit a portion of the award or not. The plaintiff will have to obey the judge’s command. Remittitur is a legal remedy for a jury verdict that is grossly excessive according to the circumstances. Sometimes, a jury’s verdict does not align with the damages the plaintiff demonstrated in such a way that a judge feels compelled to demand remittitur.

For the most part, punitive damages will not be enough to constitute a gross error or prejudice from a jury. Instead, remittitur is most common when a defendant files a motion for a new trial because he or she thinks the plaintiff received an excessive amount of compensation. Instead of dealing with a new trial, a judge may order remittitur if he or she believes the facts of the case warrant such an action.

Upon filing for a new trial on additur or remittitur, the courts will review the case again and either uphold the original amount or issue an increased or decreased verdict. Using a lawyer to represent you during additur or remittitur can help you protect your rights after the conclusion of your initial personal injury lawsuit, whether you are a plaintiff or defendant. Your Portland personal injury lawyer can help you discover if you have the right to one of these legal remedies.