The Virginia Supreme Court has resolved a persistent question about closing argument in a personal injury trial. In a case argued by Weiner, Spivey & Miller, the Court approved a plaintiff’s listing of multiple damage amounts during closing argument. Until now, attorneys were only able to ask for a single amount for damages on behalf of clients.
This case involved a ruling of the Circuit Court of Fairfax County permitting our firm to argue for separate amounts of damages sought for pain and suffering and other intangible losses in closing argument. Our client brought suit against the Defendant for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. The Defendant admitted liability, therefore the only issue at trial concerned damages.
At the close of evidence and prior to the closing argument, the Defendant objected to counsel asking the jury for separate amounts for each element of damages. Our firm argued the Plaintiff should be entitled to argue for each element of damages as permitted under Virginia Law. The Judge found in our favor, and the Defendant filed a Notice of Appeal.
In a March 2, 2012 ruling, the Supreme Court’s opinion in Wakole v. Barber affirmed the trial court’s ruling for our client and resolved this issue in favor of listing of damages during closing. This ruling will make it easier for a jury to understand the different elements of damages and award fair compensation to injured parties.