Sometimes, a jury must award damages in a personal injury case - KOTA Territory News

Sometimes, a jury must award damages in a personal injury case



Gary Jensen
Beardsley, Jensen and Von Wald

When the evidence from both sides in a personal injury lawsuit is that plaintiff experienced pain and suffering, then the jury must award compensation for that pain and suffering (assuming it finds liability).

In Reinfeld v. Hutcheson, 2010 S.D. 42, the South Dakota Supreme Court held there should be a new trial for plaintiff on the basis of "inadequacy of award" where the jury in an admitted liability case awarded plaintiff damages for past and future medical expenses, but nothing for pain and suffering.  All physicians, including those called by the defense, testified that Plaintiff experienced pain and suffering as a result of the accident. 

The Court explained its decision by stating, "A jury cannot award recovery for medical expense and without reason deny recovery for the very injuries necessitating the medical expense."

E-mail Gary is intended as general information on legal issues affecting us all.  This information should not be relied upon in any particular case and should never be used in lieu of consulting with an attorney.


1.      You see yet another car accident at a spot where there have been many accidents in the past and will be more accidents in the future? 


2.      You learn another person is hurt using a machine that has injured others in the past and will injure others in the future? 


3.      You watch a dangerous practice – like where a school bus parks – you know is a disaster waiting to happen?  


What should you do? 


Try to prevent the next accident, injury, and catastrophe from happening. 


How can you do that? 


Send a letter or email to those responsible – the highway department, the owner and operator of the machine, the school district - putting them on notice of the danger.


Your letter or email will either prompt a "fix" or help the next innocent victim establish liability against those who failed to act.   


Taking a few minutes to write a letter or email can have a huge impact; you can be a difference maker. 

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