Tort Law

Brien Roche Law > Tort Law Resources > Tort Case Law > Tort Law Cases – I > Inadequate Verdict Cases Summarized By Accident Attorney

Inadequate Verdict Cases Summarized By Accident Attorney

The cases reported on this page are from the Virginia Supreme Court and summarized by Brien Roche. They deal with the topic of an inadequate verdict and the related topic of personal injury. For more information about verdicts see the pages on Wikipedia.

Inadequate Verdict-Cases

2015 Cosby v. Clem, 290 Va. 1, 773 S.E.2d 159.
Jury awarded verdict of $9,000.00 with evidence of medical bills of over $180,000.00. Trial court improperly granted Motion for Ad- ditur and added medical bills to the verdict. Jury determination of verdict of $9,000.00 was properly within their province.

2005 Jenkins v. Pyles, 269 Va. 383, 611 S.E.2d 404.
Jury returned verdict in the amount of $65,137.40, which was the exact amount of medical and special damages. Supreme court concluded that verdict was inadequate as a matter of law, it noted that the evidence on liability was contested and that the jury awarded a substantial verdict in favor of the plaintiff and because of that, it reversed the circuit court’s judgment and awarded the plaintiff a new trial on the issue of damages alone.

2003 Shepherd v. Smith, 265 Va. 327, 576 S.E.2d 427.
In this personal injury action, trial court set aside $65,000 verdict in favor of plaintiff on motion of defendant that verdict was inadequate. Case was retried and jury returned verdict for defendant. Plaintiff appeals alleging that first verdict should not be set aside. Supreme court held that absent unusual circumstances, trial court may not set aside a verdict and order a new trial based upon motion by the defendant claiming the verdict for plaintiff was inadequate.

2000 Rice v. Charles, 260 Va. 157, 532 S.E.2d 318
In this wrongful death action, jury returned verdict for the precise amount of the funeral expenses and awarded no monetary compensation for sorrow, mental anguish, and loss of solace. Verdict was inadequate as a matter of law.

1999 Richardson v. Braxton-Bailey, 257 Va. 61, 510 S.E.2d 732.
Jury trial in auto accident case resulted in verdict of $3,265 which trial court set aside as being inadequate. Second trial resulted in verdict of $1,270 which trial court again set aside as inadequate. Third jury trial resulted in verdict of $35,000. Plaintiff was treated by physician recommended by her attorney and incurred total medical bills of $1,225, $45.59 for prescription, and loss of income of $5,905.20. Plaintiff’s physician testified that on several occasions, he tried to get her back to work but plaintiff did not return to work until five weeks after injury. Trial court’s conclusion that jury made no allowance for other damage elements such as pain, suffering, and inconvenience was in error. Evidence in this case permitted jury to conclude that only some of the damages claimed resulted from this collision. As such, verdict in amount less than or approximating a portion of special damages does not justify conclusion that jury failed to consider other damage elements such as pain, suffering, and inconvenience.

1999 Walker v. Mason, 257 Va. 65, 510 S.E.2d 734.
In these consolidated appeals, court reaffirmed Bowers v. Sprouse, 254 Va. 428, 492 S.E.2d 637 (1997). Jury verdict in personal injury action which compensated plaintiff for exact amount of plaintiff’s medical expenses and other special damages is inadequate as a matter of law irrespective of whether those damages were controverted. This rule does not extend to award, which deviates from amount of all special damages claimed even if amount of verdict corresponds to identifiable portion of special damages. In such case, bright line rule as stated in Bowers cannot be applied. In one of consolidated cases, plaintiff claimed special damages of $4,431. Jury verdict in amount of $230, which was equal to the amount of hospital emergency room bill was not inadequate as a matter of law. In second consolidated case, plaintiff claimed special damages of medial bills and lost wages in total amount of $1,386. Jury verdict was in amount of $560, the amount of lost wages. Due to conflicting evidence, trial court was not justified in concluding that verdict was inadequate as a matter of law. In third consolidated case, jury returned verdict of $2,700. Amount exceeded special damages claim by approximately $86. Trial court improperly relied upon Bowers in setting the verdict aside. Compensation for pain and suffering is within discretion of jury unless it appears from record that jury has been influenced by partiality or prejudice or mislead by mistaken view of merits of case, there is no basis for setting verdict aside in circumstance such as this. When jury verdict is not in exact amount of special damages claimed, then Bowers is not applicable and trial court must review evidence under traditional principles relating to adequacy of jury verdicts.

1998 Downer v. CSX Transp., Inc., 256 Va. 590, 507 S.E.2d 612.
In this FELA jury returned verdict for $5,000.00. Verdict is to be sustained since plaintiff offered no evidence of permanent injury or disability, doctors considered some of his complaints to be out of proportion to what they could find physically wrong with him, complaints were characterized by doctors as result of psychological stress, and jury was instructed without objection that it could reduce amount of plaintiff’s recovery in proportion to relative negligence of plaintiff and defendant. In light of all those factors reasonable persons could conclude verdict was adequate.

1998 Toombs v. Hayes, 256 Va. 193, 501 S.E.2d 409.
Inadequate verdict claimed. Jury returns verdict in exact amount of special damages. Jury award in personal injury action which compensates plaintiff for exact amount of plaintiff’s medical expenses and other special damages is inadequate as matter of law irrespective of whether those damages were controverted. Verdict in this case was set aside.

1998 Hundley v. Osborne, 256 Va. 173, 500 S.E.2d 810.
Inadequate verdict claimed.Where plaintiff’s evidence of special damages is uncontroverted and so complete that no rational fact finder could disregard it, it must be considered fixed, constituent part of verdict. However, where plaintiff’s evidence of special damages in controverted, doubtful as to nature and extent then these special damages do not constitute fixed part of jury’s verdict. In this latter situation verdict cannot be disturbed on claim of inadequacy. Plaintiff’s evidence in this case of future medical expenses and loss of wages is not so uncontroverted and complete that no rational fact finder could disregard it and as such verdict is not inadequate as matter of law.

1998 Shelby Ins. Co. v. Kozak, 255 Va. 411, 497 S.E.2d 864.<
Inadequate verdict claimed.Auto accident case tried before jury with verdict in amount of $50,000.00. Trial court set verdict aside as being inadequate and ordered new trial on damages alone. In cases where liability has probably exerted material influence on jury in determining amount of damages or where evidence warrants inference that instead of deciding question of liability, jury has arbitrarily determined to make both parties bear part of burden then when court sets verdict aside it should grant new trial on all issues.

1998 Supinger v. Stakes, 255 Va. 198, 495 S.E.2d 813.
Inadequate verdict claimed.Jury returned verdict in amount of $515.50. Trial court concluded that verdict was inadequate and rather than granting plaintiff new trial held on its own that additur would be appropriate and increased award to $5,000.00. In remittitur trial court reduces excessive verdicts to amount supported by evidence. Amount of damage eventually awarded by trial court is amount that jury actually passed upon in arriving at its verdict and therefore jury determines damages and court merely reduces verdict to an amount that represents full and fair award. In additur, however, increased award is not amount passed upon by jury thus ultimate award includes amount that was never assessed by jury. Use of additur without plaintiff’s consent requires plaintiff to forego right to jury trial. In cases involving unliquidated damages, Va. Code § 8.01-383.1(B) violates the Virginia Constitution because it fails to require plaintiff’s consent to additur.

1997 Bowers v. Sprouse, 254 Va. 428, 492 S.E.2d 637
Inadequate verdict claimed.In personal injury action, jury awarded verdict for exact amount of plaintiff’s medical special damages. That is inadequate as matter of law. Verdict indicates that jury found plaintiff was injured and had incurred special damages, but failed to compensate for any other items of damages such as pain and suffering, or inconvenience.

1992 Davoudlarian v. Krombein, 244 Va. 88, 418 S.E.2d 868.
Medicals exceed $100,000 and are undisputed. Verdict for less than medicals is inadequate verdict as a matter of law.

1991 Vilseck v. Campbell, 242 Va. 10, 405 S.E.2d 614.
Inadequate verdict claimed.Auto accident case where jury found in favor of plaintiff but awarded no damages. Jury verdict upheld on grounds that the evidence of damages was disputed and jury apparently found there were none.

1991 Johnson v. Smith, 241 Va. 396, 403 S.E.2d 685.
Wrongful death action wherein jury awarded nothing for solace and awarded children nothing for loss of services and protection. Inadequate verdict as matter of law. New trial ordered on issue of damages alone.

1990 Hall v. Hall, 240 Va. 360, 397 S.E.2d 829.
Wrongful death action wherein funeral bills and medical expenses were two thousand nine hundred fifty-one dollars and thirty-one cents. Jury verdict of three thousand dollars was inadequate as matter of law since that resulted in jury awarding forty-eight dollars and sixty-nine cents for non-monetary damages. Inadequate verdict set aside.

1989 Mastin v. Theirjung, 238 Va. 434, 384 S.E.2d 86.
Inadequate verdict claimed.Verdict for plaintiff for $0.00. Plaintiff’s evidence on damages did not require jury to award damages. Jury could have found plaintiff feigning. Given plaintiff’s history, jury could have concluded plaintiff’s stress disorder came about for other reasons.

1988 Philip Morris, Inc. v. Emerson, 235 Va. 380, 368 S.E.2d 268.
Inadequate verdict claimed.Plaintiff had $4,247 for medicals, $1,820 for business expenses. Jury in this P.I. action awarded $7,620, which meant that $1,600 was awarded for nonmonetary damages. There was dispute about this. No abuse of discretion in not setting aside award.

1987 Bradner v. Mitchell, 234 Va. 483, 362 S.E.2d 718.
Inadequate verdict claimed.Award of damages $42.65 over substantial and uncontroverted special damages which no rational factfinder could disregard is inadequate as matter of law. Verdict was inadequate to compensate plaintiff for proven nonmonetary damages. No evidence could have supported defense verdict in this case. Therefore remand shall be for trial on damages only.

1987 DeWald v. King, 233 Va. 140, 354 S.E.2d 60.
Inadequate verdict claimed.Jury was given standard personal injury damage instruction. Their itemized verdict was for amount less than hospital bill and lost wages. There was no award for other elements of damages on which there was substantial uncontroverted evidence. Because itemized verdict form showed that jury only awarded damage for two of six elements they were instructed on, verdict is inadequate. Case remanded on issue of damages alone since defendant put on virtually no evidence as to liability.

1981 Doe v. West, 222 Va. 440, 281 S.E.2d 850.
Inadequate verdict claimed.Trial court erred in concluding that jury had disregarded some elements of damages other than loss of earnings and in setting aside verdict as inadequate.

1979 May v. Leach, 220 Va. 472, 260 S.E.2d 456.
Inadequate verdict claimed.Special damage of $1324.06. Verdict of $1323.76. Verdict affirmed. Jury entitled to find that plaintiff not injured as seriously as claimed.

1977 Rome v. Kelly Springfield Tire Co., 217 Va. 943, 234 S.E.2d 277.
Inadequate verdict claimed.Jury properly instructed, returned verdict for exact amount of lost wages and medical expense. This is more than coincidence. This represented only two of seven elements of damages covered by instruction new trial should have been granted.

1974 Raisovich v. Giddings, 214 Va. 485, 201 S.E.2d 606.
Plaintiff claimed inadequate verdict of $14,500. Damage claimed by plaintiff exceeded verdict but these damages were contested. Affirmed.

1972 Brown v. Huddleston, 213 Va. 146, 191 S.E.2d 234.
Inadequate verdict claimed.Taxicab passenger claimed excessive special damages against driver. From evidence, jury was entitled to find injury not as serious as claimed and that only portion of special damages was reasonably related to accident. Special damages were $6,420 and verdict for $1,500.

1963 Dalton v. Johnson, 204 Va. 102, 129 S.E.2d 647.
In personal injury case alleged inadequate verdict will not be disturbed unless it is manifestly so inadequate or excessive as to show plainly that verdict has resulted from: (1) misconduct of jury; or (2) jury’s misconception of merits of case in regards to damages. Verdict for $5,000 with special damages of $1,800 not inadequate.

1959 Dinwiddie v. Hamilton, 201 Va. 348, 111 S.E.2d 275.
Special damages of $1,839. Medical testimony differed as to extent and time of recovery. $2,500 was not inadequate verdict.

1955 Short v. Long, 197 Va. 104, 87 S.E.2d 776.
General rule is that in personal injury case or property damage case, where party claims inadequate verdict against defendant will not be set aside on his motion on ground that damages awarded are less than plaintiff was entitled to on evidence. Rationale of rule is that defendant could not have been damaged by such verdict.

1952 Wright v. Estep, 194 Va. 332, 73 S.E.2d 371.
Where there is sufficient evidence to support verdict either for plaintiff or defendant, but there is no clear preponderance of evidence, and question of amount of damages is not distinctly separable from liability issues, or issues as to liability have probably influenced jury in setting damages or evidence warrants inference that, instead of deciding question of liability, jury has arbitrarily determined to make both parties bear part of burden, verdict should be set aside and new trial granted on all issues. Where special damages are $6,000 and future special damages are substantial and jury returns verdict of $5,000, such is inadequate verdict.

1952 Pointer v. Green, 193 Va. 757, 71 S.E.2d 155.
Plaintiff recovered verdict of $800 from defendant. Plaintiff claimed inadequate verdict that giving or refusal of certain instructions caused depressed verdict. Award covered medical expenses and loss of time from work plus almost equal amount for pain and suffering. Verdict affirmed.

1950 Drudge v. Cooper, 190 Va. 843, 58 S.E.2d 878.
Inadequate verdict.Verdict must stand unless it is manifestly out of line and shocks our sense of justice. Verdict of $2,500 not inadequate where special damages are $1,836.45 and plaintiff sprained neck and back.

1946 Chappell v. White, 184 Va. 810, 36 S.E.2d 524.
Inadequate verdict.Where there is no valid objection to members of jury and no suggestion of improper influence, verdict should be accepted unless it shocks conscience. Reference to Rawle v. McIlhenny, 163 Va. 735, classic case on adequacy of damages. Verdict of $4,200 not inadequate even though there was evidence of permanency.

1945 McDowell v. Portsmouth, 184 Va. 548, 35 S.E.2d 821.
Inadequate verdict.In determining whether verdict on behalf of plaintiff should be overturned on grounds of inadequacy, court should consider evidence as it relates to damages and liability. Where clearly decided preponderance of evidence is against right of plaintiff to recover, then verdict should not be disturbed. Court will not disturb verdict either because of its largeness or smallness unless it is so inadequate or excessive as to show plainly that verdict resulted from one or both of two causes: (1) misconduct of jury; (2) jury’s misconception of merits of case so far as it relates to damages. Verdict of $500 not inadequate where special damages of $638.59 were indefinite.

1945 Mutter v. Keen, 183 Va. 679, 33 S.E.2d 200.
Wrongful death case. Verdict of $500 is virtually finding for defendant.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Inadequate Verdict Cases Summarized By Accident Attorney

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Contact Us For A Free Consultation