In awarding damages jurors must decide what award, if any, will fairly compensate the plaintiff for the losses.
The burden is on the plaintiff to prove by a preponderance of the evidence each item of damage claimed to be caused by the defendant. In considering the items of damage, jurors must keep in m in that the ultimate award must adequately and fairly compensate the plaintiff, but should not be based on speculation.
Compensatory Damages for Bodily Injury
In an action for damages in a personal injury case, jurors must consider the following:
- The personal injuries sustained and their extent and duration;
- The effect such injuries have on the overall physical and mental health and well-being of the plaintiff;
- The physical pain and mental anguish suffered in the past and which with reasonable probability may be expected to be experienced in the future;
- The disfigurement and humiliation or embarrassment associated with such disfigurement;
- The medical and other expenses reasonably and necessarily incurred in the past and which with reasonable probability are expected in the future;
- The loss of earnings in the past and such earnings or reduction and earning capacity which with reasonable probability will be experienced in the future.
In awarding damages jurors must itemize the award to show the amount intended for:
- The medical expenses incurred in the past
- The medical expenses reasonably probable to be incurred in the future
- The loss of earnings and/or earning capacity incurred in the past;
- The loss of earnings and/or earning capacity reasonably probable to be expected future; and
- The “non-economic damages” sustained in the past and reasonably probable to in the sustained in the future. All damages which the jury finds for pain, suffering, physical impairment, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, effect on physical health and loss of consortium are “non-economic damages.”