Yesterday, an appellate court reviewing a Queens County jury verdict awarding in excess of $12,000,000 to a motorist struck by a NYC Transit Authority bus cut the verdict by almost $9,000,000. The motorist was at a complete stop at an intersection in Queens while he was being ticketed for a traffic violation. A bus struck the motorist's car on the driver's side causing permanent neck and back injuries. The motorist underwent an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery resulting in large disfiguring keloid scarring on the front of his neck. Due to chronic lower back pain, a laminectomy surgery was performed on the plaintiff along with the installation of a spinal cord stimulator. The motorist was 43 years old at the time of the accident.
The plaintiff explained that all the medications he was on for severe pain made him lethargic and he was unable to work, drive long distances, play with his grandchildren or participate in sports. His spinal surgeon testified that all of these injuries were permanent and that the plaintiff would likely require another surgery to fuse the lower back with a plate and screws resulting in even greater disability. The jury's award for pain and suffering was reduced from $10,000,000 to $3,000,000; an award of $250,000 for future medical expenses was reduced to $100,000; the award to the motorist's wife for loss of her husband's services was reduced from $1,740,000 to $150,000 and the parties stipulated that the award of lost wages for $400,000 be reduced to $250,000. Tarpley v NYC Transit Authority, 2019 WL 6139205