This case is being heard in the Supreme Court of the State of New York in Queens County. The defendants of the case have moved for an order to set aside a jury award of damages that was returned on the 22nd of June, 2005 and for a new trial to be granted in the interest of justice. The defendants contend that the amount of the awards issued by the jury are excessive and are not supported by the evidence that was provided in the case. The jury awarded the plaintiff $2,500,000 for past pain and suffering, $1,000,000 for future loss of earnings over the next 32 years and $12,500,000 over 52 years for future pain and suffering. There have been several conferences held in regard to this case, but no agreement could be reached and now it is up to the court to decide.
The trial of this instant action was bifurcated. The liability portion of the trial was held on the seventh of June, 2005 and the jury returned with a verdict on the ninth of June finding that negligence of the defendants was the only cause of the accident in which the plaintiff was injured.
The Long Island plaintiff was coming home from work when she was hit by a bus when she crossed Putnam Avenue in Queens County. She fell backwards on the ground and sustained injuries to her back and to her neck. The most serious injury was to her right foot which was crushed by the wheel of the bus.
The damages portion of the trial was started on the 15th of June. The evidence provided in the case showed that as a result of the accident the skin and tendons of the plaintiff’s foot were badly damaged. She also suffered from fractures and displacements of the bones of the foot and toes.
At the time of the accident the plaintiff was taken by ambulance to the hospital where her wounds were cleaned. She was put under while surgery was performed and a cast put on her foot. She was released from the hospital two weeks later with her foot still in a cast.
The plaintiff stated during her testimony that she underwent physical therapy for her foot, but continues to have unbearable pain and numbness throughout her right foot. She ended up having another surgery to her foot to release the nerve from scar tissue that had developed around it.
Court Discussion and Decision
In order for the court to set aside a jury determination for damages the record must show that the verdict made by the jury could not have been reached by any fair interpretation of the evidence.
In this case, the plaintiff concedes that the amount awarded for pain and suffering is excessive and suggests a reduced award in the amount of $1,500,000 for past pain and suffering and $3,500,000 for future pain and suffering.
The court has reviewed similar cases and jury awards and determined that a fair settlement would be $1,000,000 for past pain and suffering and $2,000,000 for future pain and suffering. If the plaintiff does not agree to this the defendant will be granted a new trial to resolve the issue.