Jury’s can be unpredictable! In this case, the jury rendered a special verdict finding that the defendant was negligent and that negligence was the cause of the plaintiff’s injury. The jury further awarded economic damages based on the the plaintiff’s bills for surgery. For some reason, however, the jury refused to award noneconomic damages for pain and suffering. The Court of Appeal ruled that in this case, that failure rendered the damages inadequate as a matter of law.
The lesson here is to get that special verdict. The court noted that juries could return a general verdict for less than the medical bills, for instance, and it would be assumed that they found the defendant was not responsible for all of the injuries. But a special verdict in this case finding that the defendant was negligent and that the negligence caused “by the accident,” then pain and suffering damages must be included in the award where the injury required “serious surgery.”