Remittur and additur are both ways to alter a verdict for losses in a personal injury case or any other civil lawsuit case. Remittitur is the process in which the judge has the power to order a reduction of an exorbitant verdict. Additur is the increase that a court has the ability to make in the case of the jury’s award of damages which the court deems insufficient.
After a judge or jury in a civil trial establishes that the defendant is liable for all damages, the next step is to determine an appropriate amount of compensation for the plaintiff. Compensation is often times determined by the total amount of medical bills, severity of damages to property, and pain and suffering. Depending on the amount of compensation, the two parties can decide if they want to file a motion of remittitur or additur.
As of now, all fifty states allow judges to grant remittitur to reduce the amount of damages given by a jury. Most of the time remittitur is granted when the compensation given to the plaintiff is excessive. However, it might be in response to the fact that the assigned compensation is much higher than what the plaintiff originally asked for. The victim may either accept the new offer or submit for a new trial.
Unlike remittitur, additur is not in all fifty states. A judge files for additur when he or she believes that the plaintiff deserves more for their losses. In the states that do allow additur, it is often times to punitive damages. Judges may not increase the amount of damages awarded to a plaintiff to repay his actual losses, but judges may increase the amount of punitive damages. The decision is left to the judge.