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Additur

Definition - What does Additur mean?

Additur is the power of the court to increase damages if they determine the award given by the jury after a verdict in a personal injury case was insufficient. Additur is allowed in some states, but the United States federal courts do not use additur to increase damage amounts.

How does the Additur process work?

Following the conclusion of the personal injury case if the court determines the defendant should pay for the plaintiff's injuries the court will determine compensation for the plaintiff's losses. The court will calculate compensatory damages by evaluating the plaintiff's medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses resulting from the injury. In some cases the court may also add punitive damages to the award amount if they determine the actions of the defendant were especially reckless or egregious.

After the court calculates the total award for the injury the plaintiff may file a motion for additur, which allows the court to increase the amount awarded if they believe the payment is too low. If the judge grants the motion he is agreeing that the amount of compensation granted by the jury was too low and awards the plaintiff more money.

Additur is not allowed in some states, and if it is allowed, it is generally restricted to increase the amount of punitive damages paid. Whether or not to allow additur is usually left to the discretion of the trial judge.

Additur is not used at the federal level because the Supreme Court has ruled that additur violates the defendants Seventh Amendment right to a jury in a federal civil trial and the right to have the jury calculate the damages which should be paid. In a federal case the Supreme Court has argued that if the compensation is too low, rather than using additur, the court judge should simply request a new trial.

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