Additur refers to the power of a trial court to assess damages or increase a jury award of damages found to be excessively low. It is a means of avoiding a retrial where the damages awarded by the jury are deemed to be so low as to amount to a miscarriage of justice. The defendant must agree to the additur, but the plaintiff is not required to consent. It is typically involved where the jury is influenced by prejudice, corruption, passion, or mistake.
Additur is not allowed in all states, and is not allowed in the federal courts. Federal procedural rules allow a judge to set aside a verdict for a plaintiff on the ground that the damages awarded are clearly inadequate, but then the judge's only option is to grant a new trial.
The following is an example of a state law governing additur:
SEC. 11-1-55. Authority to impose condition of additur or remittitur.
The supreme court or any other court of record in a case in which money damages were awarded may overrule a motion for new trial or affirm on direct or cross appeal, upon condition of an additur or remittitur, if the court finds that the damages are excessive or inadequate for the reason that the jury or trier of the facts was influenced by bias, prejudice, or passion, or that the damages awarded were contrary to the overwhelming weight of credible evidence. If such additur or remittitur be not accepted then the court may direct a new trial on damages only. If the additur or remittitur is accepted and the other party perfects a direct appeal, then the party accepting the additur or remittitur shall have the right to cross appeal for the purpose of reversing the action of the court in regard to the additur or remittitur.