Jury Award: Legal Definition

A jury award is the amount of compensation a jury decides a plaintiff should receive for a personal injury or loss. A jury award may be higher or lower than the amount asked for by the plaintiff. The compensation is intended to restore plaintiffs to the same position they were in prior to the injury or loss.

Types of Jury Awards

Prior to deliberating a verdict, jurors may be asked by a plaintiff’s attorney to grant a specific amount of damages for the plaintiff’s personal injury or loss. The judge presiding over the trial will give instructions to the jury on the type of damages to award.

The damages may include:

Economic Damages

Economic damages are awards for the money the plaintiff paid out or will have to pay for the personal injury or loss. Economic damages are not difficult to calculate because they have exact dollar amounts attached to them.

For instance, a plaintiff injured by a faulty hernia mesh implantation can show receipts or bills for out-of-pocket costs for hospitalization, physical therapy, doctor’s office visits, prescription medication, and other treatment-related costs.

If the personal injury resulted in a long-term disability, a plaintiff can calculate future costs for medical treatment and loss of future wages because of an inability to work.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages may take jurors longer to calculate. Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages do not have an exact dollar amount attached to them because they involve the physical, mental, and emotional pain plaintiffs suffer because of a personal injury or loss. These damages may include pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, fear, and anxiety.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are awarded when a jury finds that a defendant’s reckless conduct caused significant injury or loss to the plaintiff. For instance, a jury may award punitive damages against a drunk driver who caused an accident that seriously injured a plaintiff and killed the plaintiff’s family members.

While the plaintiff receives the money, punitive damages are intended to punish a defendant. Punitive damages are also intended to deter others from displaying similar malicious or reckless behavior as the defendant.

Caps on Jury Awards

Some states place a limit on the amount of damages a jury can award a plaintiff in a personal injury case. For instance, Tennessee does not place a limit on economic damages, but the state does cap non-economic damages at $750,000.

The exception to this cap is when a plaintiff suffers a catastrophic loss or injury, such as amputation of both hands or feet, or a spinal cord injury; in these instances, non-economic damages can increase from $750,000 to $1 million.

Contact the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC

If you or your family members suffered a personal injury, you may be eligible to recover compensation by filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. To learn more about pursuing compensation for your damages, call the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC at 865-546-1111 for a free consultation.