People often ask me, how do juries and insurance companies arrive at the amount of money they award to plaintiffs? Some juries award damages in the hundred of millions of Dollars, while others have awarded much less, so it is bound to cause some confusion. I will attempt to provide a short answer regarding Connecticut personal injury law damage awards here.
When a party is determined to be liable for the personal injury of another party, meaning that a jury decided that the actions or omissions of the party, whether intentional or negligent, caused injury to another, a jury will award the injured party damages. Juries in Connecticut are not just supposed to make up the numbers; they are to be based on a variety of factors.
The general goal of personal injury, or tort, damages is to return the injured party to his or her pre-injury state through compensation. One very common factor that determines the extent of a jury award is the injured party’s decreased earning’s potential. Under this rule, a party can be compensated for the amount of money they will no longer be able to earn due to the injury. Therefore, in a car accident, assuming they have similar injuries, a young neurosurgeon will normally collect more in damages than an older blue-collar worker. Whether you agree with that or not, that is the law in the State of Connecticut.
Other factors include medical costs, the extent of the injured party’s pain and suffering, damage to property, loss of consortium (a term referring to companionship), and punitive damages. Punitive damages, unlike most of tort damages, are primarily designed to punish the wrongdoer, rather than to compensate the injured party. Because of their punitive nature, punitive damages are less frequently available to plaintiffs. These are all topics that you should discuss with a Connecticut personal injury attorney before you decide to institute a court action.
Posted on 11/18/13