Sometimes, a jury must award damages in a personal injury case

When the evidence from both sides in a personal injury lawsuit is that plaintiff experienced pain and suffering, then the jury must award compensation for that pain and suffering (assuming it finds liability).

In Reinfeld v. Hutcheson, 2010 S.D. 42, the South Dakota Supreme Court held there should be a new trial for plaintiff on the basis of “inadequacy of award” where the jury in an admitted liability case awarded plaintiff damages for past and future medical expenses, but nothing for pain and suffering.  All physicians, including those called by the defense, testified that Plaintiff experienced pain and suffering as a result of the accident. 

The Court explained its decision by stating, “A jury cannot award recovery for medical expense and without reason deny recovery for the very injuries necessitating the medical expense.”

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Gary D. Jensen

Licensed since 1978

Member at firm Beardsley, Jensen & Lee, Professional L.L.C.

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