Excessive Loss of Society Award by a Jury In a Car Accident Case
In Mikolajczyk v. Ford Motor Co., 374 Ill. App. 3d 646, 675-76, 870 N.E.2d 885, 312 Ill. Dec. 441 (2007), reversed on other grounds Mikolajczyk v. Ford Motor Co., No. 104983, 231 Ill. 2d 516, 901 N.E.2d 329, 327 Ill. Dec. 1 (2008), the court found that the jury's loss of society award, to a widow of a driver killed when his vehicle was struck from behind, of $ 25 million was excessive.
This court noted that there was sufficient evidence presented at trial to support a loss of society award and that all of the defendants' contentions of trial error were without merit. Mikolajczyk, 374 Ill. App. 3d at 676. Therefore, this court remanded the case to the circuit court for a hearing to determine the appropriate amount of remittitur. Mikolajczyk, 374 Ill. App. 3d at 676.
This court explained that after the remittitur amount is set by the circuit court, if the plaintiff does not consent to the reduced award within a reasonable time period as set by the circuit court, then the circuit court shall order a new trial between the parties on the issue of the amount of loss of society damages only. Mikolajczyk, 374 Ill. App. 3d at 676.
Also, in Dillon v. Evanston Hospital, 199 Ill. 2d 483, 771 N.E.2d 357, 264 Ill. Dec. 653 (2002), the jury awarded the plaintiff $ 1.5 million for past pain and suffering, $ 1.5 million for future pain and suffering, and $ 500,000 for the increased risk of future injuries. Dillon, 199 Ill. 2d at 488-89.
Our supreme court determined that the jury instruction on increased risk was inadequate, and "remanded the cause to the trial court for a new trial solely on that element of damages." Dillon, 199 Ill. 2d at 508.