What is Remittitur?

November 30, 2022

Remittitur is a legal process that allows for excessive damage awards or jury verdicts to be lessened. This is different from additur, the process where the total amount of damage awarded can be increased. The key word in remittitur is “remit,” as in “giving back.” here, we want to examine the goal of remittitur and discuss scenarios where this may be an appropriate action.

Understanding Remittitur

Have you ever heard of dry verdicts where the plaintiff is awarded hundreds of millions or maybe even a billion dollars? In some cases, high jury verdict awards are necessary, particularly for instances where a defendant’s actions were particularly egregious. However, there are also times when jury awards can be excessive.

Remittitur is the process that occurs if a party involved in the case feels that the jury’s verdict award amount is grossly excessive. The judge could order the plaintiff the “remit” part of the award amount to a lower level that is more supported by the evidence presented during the trial.

The goal of remittitur is not to ensure that the plaintiff receives no compensation but rather that they receive adequate compensation for their losses. Importantly, remittitur can help remove the necessity of a new trial or an appeal. Defendants that are ordered to pay an excessive verdict amount will almost certainly request a new trial or appeal the amount, which would significantly increase the amount of time it takes for every party to reach closure.

Cases of remittitur are appropriate when there is very little doubt about the liability the defendant has in this situation. These cases revolve completely around the total amount of compensation the jury awarded the plaintiff, not whether or not the defendant should pay compensation.

How Does Additur Differ?

Individuals often see remittitur listed in the same phrase as additur. Additur is the opposite of remittitur, and refers to the power of a court to assess damages and the ability of the court to increase the total damages that were awarded by a jury, if the original award amount was deemed to be less than adequate.

Will You Need an Attorney?

Any person who has reached the point of the possibility of remittitur will likely already have a Martinsburg injury attorney they are working with. These claims are complex, and an attorney will be your advocate every step of the way. They will help you understand the process of row miniature if that becomes necessary for your particular claim.

Should a Plaintiff Accept Remittitur?

Even though the plaintiff may not want to remit some of the total damages awarded to them by the jury, this may be the best option moving forward. In the event a person refuses remittitur, this could lead to a new trial or an appeal, which would likely significantly extend the length of the time it takes for the case to resolve.

When remittitur is used, this can at least help ensure the plaintiff receives what is deemed to be fair compensation, and that would be guaranteed payment. If there is a new trial or an appeal, there is no guarantee that the plaintiff will receive compensation at all.

We encourage any person placed in this scenario to speak to their attorney about the best steps moving forward.


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