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.