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Second Department Increases Jury Award for Past Pain and Suffering.

March 10, 2009

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In<i> Baird v V.I.P. Mgt. Co., Inc., </i>plaintiff was injured in a fall and underwent three spinal surgeries. At trial, a Westchester County jury found the defendants 70% at fault, while plaintiff was found 30% at fault. Plaintiff was awarded damages in the amount of $100,000 for past pain and suffering and $300,000 for future pain and suffering. The Appellate Division held that the amount awarded for past pain and suffering was insufficient and represented a material deviation from what would be reasonable compensation.
The surgeries involved spinal fusions at the C5-6 and C6-7 levels. The fusions failed requiring the third surgery. The plaintiff testified that she was in constant pain, and was unable to drive, work and otherwise engage in normal activities. The Appellate Division ordered a new trial on the issue of past pain and suffering, or in the alternative, that the defendants agree within 30 days to increase the verdict amount from $100,000 to $400,000. The Appellate Division found that the award for future pain and suffering, however, did not deviate from what would constitute reasonable compensation.
Thanks to Alison Weintraub for her contribution.
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