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Massachusetts Appellate Court Upholds a Ninety Percent Remittitur in Rear-End Collision Case

One of the most frustrating aspects of a car accident injury lawsuit is determining the amount of compensation that you are entitled to receive for your damages. As the victim who has dealt with the ongoing stress, disruption, and pain of the accident, you have a clear sense of what you are owed. But the defendant, jury, or court may come to a different conclusion. In this situation, it may be necessary to file a motion contesting the amount of damages that the court has entered in your case. The seasoned and knowledgeable Boston car accident lawyers at Mass Injury Group are available to help you fight for the fair and appropriate outcome that you deserve.

The Massachusetts Court of Appeal considered an appeal where the plaintiff challenged a lower court’s entry of a remittitur, which is an order that reduces the amount of damages that the jury awarded to the plaintiff. In the case, the plaintiff was injured when a truck driven by an employee of a company rear-ended the vehicle. Her brother-in-law came to the scene of the accident and took the plaintiff to the hospital for medical treatment. She was out of work for 2.5 weeks but later returned to the same medical facility experiencing headaches and chest pains. Over the next several months, she received treatment from a variety of physicians regarding her accident-related injuries. The plaintiff was involved in another rear-end crash two years later.

The plaintiff eventually filed a claim against the employer of the man driving the truck that caused the first accident alleging negligence and unfair claim settlement practice. The defendants conceded liability and a trial regarding damages was held. The jury concluded that the plaintiff was entitled to $600,000 in damages. The defendant moved for a new trial or a remittitur. A remittitur is a ruling in which the judge reduces the amount of damages that a jury has awarded if the judge finds that it was excessive and not supported by the evidence. The plaintiff refused to accept the judge’s remittitur of $70,000, so a new trial on damages was held. This time, the jury returned a verdict of $110,000 for the plaintiff. The judge then concluded that the defendant did not engage in unfair claim settlement practices.

The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the judge presiding over the first damages trial erred by allowing a motion for a new trial and remitting the jury’s verdict from $600,000 to $70,000. Reviewing the evidence in the record, the appellate court concluded that while a 90% reduction in the jury’s damages award seemed extreme, the evidence did not support the number and that the judge’s remittitur of $70,000 was appropriate. Finding no other errors with the lower court proceedings, the appellate court affirmed the lower court’s rulings.

If you were injured in a car accident, it is important for you to receive the comprehensive and supportive legal counsel that you deserve during this process. The judicial system can be incredibly overwhelming especially if you are also coping with devastating injuries and major disruption in your life. Let the seasoned car accident lawyers at Mass Injury Group assist you. Call our office at 617-263-0060 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.

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