A deliveryman was going about his workday in Hempstead, New York. Unfortunately, during the course of his deliveries, he was rear-ended by a Nassau County employee. Following the accident, the worker sued Nassau County and their drive in Nassau County Supreme Court.
The victim sought care at a local urgent care facility. He had pain in his back, knees, and his right shoulder. Although he initially had minor conservative care, a more careful examination of the injured areas showed tears of the cartilage and a ligament in his left knee, requiring arthroscopic surgery. Not only did the worker sustain a significant injury to his knee, but he also suffered herniations to his lower back. A herniation occurs when trauma causes the discs in the spine to essentially break and become out of place or distorted. These herniations developed also nerve impingement. He was forced to undergo injections to the spine to manage the pain. He also went through a significant amount of physical therapy in an attempt to try to regain strength in the injured areas of his body.
As you can imagine, injuries of this severity can drastically alter one’s life. At the time of the accident, the victim was in his late 20s. He attempted to proceed with his dream job, being a personal trainer. However, because of the limitations, he was unable to perform to his previous level of energy and expertise. Instead of being able to help demonstrate the exercises and be physically involved with his clients, he was relegated to only verbal coaching and encouragement.
With the reaming uncertainty concerning both his career and potential medical care, the aspiring personal trainer had no choice but to continue with his lawsuit. The defendants, which were the other driver and his employer, Nassau County, sought to minimize his recovery. The defendants claimed that the victim’s injuries were not serious enough to recover money from his accident.
In New York motor vehicle accidents only, there is a law called the “serious injury law” which does prevent some injured people from recovering if they do not meet certain standards. Defendants often try to minimize the injuries of their victims in an attempt to hide behind this law. As a part of this strategy, they will often hire doctors that will try to attribute the injuries to some other cause. In this case, the defendants hired a doctor who claimed that the injuries and medical treatment the worker received were not from this most recent accident, but rather from an accident which occurred nearly twelve years earlier. Not only did they claim that the injuries were not a result of this accident, the defendants also took the position that the victim was essentially healed, and he would not need any future medical care in the future. This is another common tactic by the defense in cases where people are injured. They will attempt to claim that some other incident was so horrible that it must have caused these injuries. While blaming the other “horrible” incident, they may also claim that the injuries either don’t exist or are just not that bad.
When defendants take these positions, the only recourse may be a trial. That is exactly what happened in this case. At the trial, the injured party presented evidence on both the client’s need for future medical care and evidence of past and future pain and suffering. Pain and suffering are a person’s loss of enjoyment of life. Essentially it is an attempt to measure who a person was and could have been, to who that person is now. This is an incredibly important aspect of any personal injury case. Many times, the plans injured people made have been irreparably altered. The only recourse we, as attorneys, have, is to provide them with financial security in the future which may give them comfort and, hopefully, the ability to make new plans.
After the four-day trial, the jury agreed with the injured victim’s experts and found in his favor. They awarded him $700,000 in future medical expenses, $380,000 in future pain and suffering and $120,000 in past pain in suffering for a grand total of $1,200,000.
What is more remarkable is that the defendant only offered $175,000 prior to the trial. The award was nearly seven times the defendant's best offer. This is just another example of justice prevailing despite the defendants’ best efforts.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of an accident, please reach out to us for a free legal consultation by calling 24/7 at 212-514-5100, emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting our law firm in Lower Manhattan (42 Broadway, Suite 1927). You can also ask us questions through the 24-hour chat box on our website (www.plattalaw.com). We offer free consultations for all potential personal injury cases.
The Platta Law Firm, PLLC
Slawomir W. Platta, Esq.