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Jury Awards Do Not Need Legislative Caps


Dear Source:
I am an attorney practicing in the Virgin Islands for many years, during which I have mainly represented injured people .
I am generally against the notion of legislative caps or limitations on damages because I feel that there are sufficient mechanisms already in place to ensure that just results occur in accident litigation. In the event that a jury awards an unreasonably excessive amount of damages to an injured person, the defendant can request something called remittitur, which means that the judge can give the injured person the choice of having the case tried all over again from scratch, or accepting a lesser, more reasonable amount. The defendant can also appeal the verdict on grounds that the awarded damages are excessive.
At the very least, if legislation limiting motor vehicle accident damages is really deemed to be necessary, then such legislation should only apply to routine, run-of-the-mill "soft tissue" or whiplash injuries. It should not apply to major injuries such as where someone's hand is severed, or where someone becomes paralyzed for life. Such applications are clearly unjust and unfair, and the current legislation, if not repealed, should at least be amended accordingly.

George Marshall Miller
St. Thomas

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