This section is from the book "Popular Law Library Vol4 Torts, Damages, Domestic Relations", by Albert H. Putney. Also available from Amazon: Popular Law-Dictionary.
No precise rules can be fixed for the measurement of damages caused by personal injuries.16
The damages recoverable will depend upon the circumstances in each particular case, and must be very largely left to the discretion of the jury.17 The damages awarded, however, should be on a fair basis of compensation for the injury sustained.18
In determining the amount of damages in such case the jury may take into consideration the physical and mental suffering, either past or future,19 loss of time,20 expenses incurred,21 and impairment of earning capacity.22 Where it appears that plaintiff's right arm has been rendered useless by the accident, it has been held proper to instruct the jury to take into consideration in estimating damages plaintiff's future inability to labor or transact business, although at the time of the injury he was not engaged in any business or occupation, and there was no evidence of his earning ability.23
16 Chicago, etc. R. Co. vs. Warren, 108 111., 538; Furnixh vs. Missouri Pac. R. Co., 102 Mo., 669, 155 W., 315, 22 Am. St. Rep., 800.
17 Morris vs. Chicago, etc., R.Co.,45
Iowa, 29; Pennsylvania R. Co. vs. Allen, 53 Pa. St., 276.
18 Wabash, etc., R. Co. vs. Morgan,
132 Ind., 430, 31 N. E., 661, 32 N. E., 85, 13 Cyc, 137. In Waldhien vs. Han-nabal,etc.,R.Co., 87, Mo. 37, it was held that while the amount of damages in an action for personal injuries must be left largely to the discretion of the jury, they are not at liberty to give any amount they please. 19 Ball vs. Mabry, 91 Ga., 781, 18 S. E., 611; Townsend vs. Pasla, 41 Kan., 591, 21 Pac, 596, Memphis, etc., R. Co. vs. Whitfield, 44 Miss., 466, 7 Am. Rep., 699.
20 Braithwaite vs. Hall, 168 Mass.,
38, 46, N. E., 398.
21 Sanford vs. Augusta, 32 Me., 536;
Huleban vs. Green Bay .etc., R. Co., 68 Wis., 520, 32 N. W., 529. 22 Blackman vs. Garden, etc., Bridge 75 Me., 214.
23 Fisher vs. Jansen, 128 111., 549, 21
N. E., 598.