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New York court sets new limits for brain injury damages

| Apr 26, 2021 | Brain Injuries |

Many residents of Michigan are frequently puzzled by the specific content of a broad medical term such as “catastrophic brain injury,” and they also wonder about the amount of damages that might be awarded to someone who suffers such an injury due to the negligence of another person. The Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court recently handed down a decision that provides answers to these questions.

The case

The plaintiff in the case was working on the construction of a two-level vendor’s booth for Best Buy at the Nassau Coliseum when the accident occurred. The injured worker was on the second level of the booth when it was struck by a fork lift truck. The worker fell 10 feet to the floor. Medical evidence showed that the plaintiff suffered post-traumatic epilepsy, chronic pain, cognitive deficits, depression issues and partial paralysis. The evidence also showed that the plaintiff was permanently disabled and unemployable. The jury found that the man was entitled to $85.75 million in damages.

Reductions in the jury’s award

The trial court reduced the $85.75 million in damages awarded by the jury to $40.6 million. The defendant and its insurers nevertheless appealed the outcome. In its decision, the Appellate Division said that the jury award, even in the reduced amount, “deviates materially from what would be reasonable compensation.” The Court reduced the amount of damages to $20 million. Lawyers for the plaintiff said that they were satisfied by the amount approved by the appellate court.

This case does not have any direct effect in Michigan or any other state besides New York, but the Appellate Division is widely respected, and many judges will be inclined to follow this decision. For specific advice on how the decision could affect a case in the Michigan courts, the knowledge of an experienced personal injury lawyer could be very helpful. A capable lawyer will know how the case can affect settlement negotiations both before and after trial.

 

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