Courts have traditionally required finality in judgments relat- ing to tort liability.’ The principle of finality would seem to oper- ate generally in favor of a defendant in civil litigation, because from the defendant’s perspective, litigation is ended and the mea- sure of compensation to be paid, if any, is fixed at the time of judg- ment. The doctrine of res judicata, an arm of the finality rule, bars a plaintiff from any further attempt to obtain compensation in the lawsuit, regardless of whether he knew or even could have known the full extent of injury at the time of trial.2

The finality rule can cause significant hardship to a plaintiff whose future loss is inherently unpredictable. This potential for hardship, however, has been ameliorated to a large extent by two factors relating generally to how damages are calculated and how damages are paid. First, courts have consistently recognized there is necessarily a lack of precision in the calculation process. Al- though uncertainty as to the underlying fact of damage may be fatal to recovery, uncertainty as to the amount of damage is not a basis for denying compensation.3 Particularly in respect to future consequences of an injury, damages can seldom be calculated with mathematical precision, and juries are given considerable latitude in determining what measure of compensation is fair.”

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Donovan Flora, Periodic Payment of Judgments in Washington, 22 Gonz. L. Rev. 155 (1986-87).

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