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Appellant Claims Jury Award for Damages is not Fair Compensation for Her Injuries


In an action to recover damages for personal injuries, a bus company appeals after a jury trial on a decision finding that the complainant woman sustained a serious impairment and awards her damages in the sums of $350,000 for past pain and suffering and $400,000 for future pain and suffering.

This legal action arises from a motor vehicle accident happened when a bus, owned by a bus company, in which the woman was riding as a passenger, was struck by another bus. The woman claimed that, as a result of the accident, she sustained spinal injury, numbness and tingling in her both hands. Just about one month after the accident, the woman underwent a surgical operation concerning the alleged injuries.

At trial, the bus company failed to call as witnesses from any of the doctors whom it had retained to examine the woman. Instead, the bus company’s strategy was to show that the woman’s various injuries were the result of an earlier accident.

On appeal, the bus company contends that the woman failed to establish that her injuries were sustained in the motor vehicle accident, as her medical experts failed to indicate an awareness of the prior accident. On the other hand, the woman presented testimony from her internist, who had conducted a routine annual physical exactly one week prior to the vehicle accident and found full cervical range of motion and no spinal tenderness at that time. In addition, the woman’s treating physician stated that he would not change his opinion that the woman’s injuries were caused by the motor vehicle accident even if he learned about the prior accident because the woman underwent physical therapy for a number of years previously. He explained that the large extruded disc fragment which was found in the woman’s cervical spinewas the result of an acute episode of the kind which generally follows a whiplash type of injury. Moreover, the evidence presented by the woman’s medical experts, including the surgeon who performed her surgical operation, established a case of serious impairment, by virtue of her having sustained a significant limitation of use of a body function or system and a medically determined impairment of a non-permanent nature which from performing substantially all of the material acts which is usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the damages or impairment.

However, the jury’s damages awards differ materially from what would be reasonable compensation to the extent indicated.

Consequently, the court ordered that the jury decision will be reversed insofar as appealed from, on the facts and in the exercise of discretion, with costs, and the matter is remitted to the Supreme Court, for a new trial on the issue of damages, unless within 30 days after service upon the woman of a copy of the decision and order. The woman shall serve and file in the office of the clerk of the Supreme Court, a written provision consenting to reduce the verdict as to damages for past pain and suffering from the principal sum of $350,000 to the principal sum of $200,000 and to reduce the verdict as to damages for future pain and suffering from the principal sum of $400,000 to the principal sum of $200,000, and to the entry of an appropriate modified decision accordingly. In the event that the woman was ordered, then the judgment, as so reduced and modified, is affirmed insofar as appealed from, without costs or disbursements. The bus company’s remaining contentions are either unpreserved for appellate review, waived, or without merit.

It is hard for any family member especially the parents to see their child suffer for impairments or injuries they obtained from accidents. It is not just the physical wounds but they also have to battle the emotional distress. If you want to recover damages, you can ask help from the NY Personal Injury Attorney or New York City Injury Lawyers. Somehow, if you opt to have the New York Spinal Injury Lawyer, you can reach them at Stephen Bilkis and Associates offices.

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