Sacramento Man Suffers Injuries After Car Hits His Motorcycle, Part 3 of 6

The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position as trial approaches. Reviewing this kind of briefing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this automobile accident/personal injury case and its proceedings.)


The matter was submitted to the jury on February 5, 2008. On or about February 5, 2008, the jury rendered the following Special Verdict:

Past Medical Expenses: $15,221.75
Past Lost Earnings: $28,686.00
Future Medical Expenses: $720.00
Future Lost Earnings: $4,250.00
Past Pain and Suffering: $190,000.00
Future Pain and Suffering: $80,000.00
Total: $318,877.75

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

In light of the evidence that plaintiff suffered only soft tissue injuries from the accident and had only $15,221.75 in past medical expenses defendant maintains that the jury award for past pain and suffering in the amount of $190,000 as well as the award for future pain and suffering in the amount of $80,000 was extremely excessive, and unsupported by the evidence. A new trial is warranted under the circumstances.

Code of Civil Procedure §657 outlines the basis for granting a new trial. In pertinent part, it provides:
The verdict may be vacated and any other decision may be modified or vacated, in whole or in part, and a new or further trial granted on all or part of the issues, on the application of the party aggrieved, for any of the following causes, materially affecting the substantial rights of such party:

5. Excessive or inadequate damages.

6. Insufficiency of the evidence to justify the verdict or other decision, or the verdict or other decision is against law.

Consequently, a new trial may be granted when the verdict is not justified by the evidence, and the court has the discretion to consider the evidence anew, and set aside the verdict as unjust. (Arellano v. City of Burbank (1939) 13 Cal.2d 248) It is also the trial judge’s duty to grant a new trial upon the issue of damages if he believes that the damages awarded by the jury are too high. (Los Angeles County v. Bitter (1951) 103 Cal.App. 2d 385.) If the recovery is disproportionate to any compensation reasonably warranted by the facts, it raises a presumption that it was the result of passion and prejudice rather than honest and reasoned judgment. (Gackstetter v. Market Street Rail Company (1935) 10 Cal.App.2d 713, 724.) (See Part 4 of 6.)

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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