Last month the Appellate Division, Second Department was called upon to review a Kings County jury verdict that was shockingly low - implying a great dislike for the victim of a rear end car accident. The plaintiff established the defendant's liability for the collision based on a pre-trial Order leaving only the issue of damages for a jury to resolve. The plaintiff's injuries caused pain and tingling in his arms which physical therapy, acupuncture and chiropractic treatments failed to resolve. A C5-C6 cervical discectomy and fusion surgery was performed 9 months post-accident. However, the plaintiff testified that he continues to experience "intermittent pain and burning" and restricted range of motion in his neck, which was not contested by the defense.
The jury awarded $25,000 for past pain and suffering, $25,000 for past medical expenses, but 0 for future pain and suffering. The Appellate Court resolved the obvious inadequate award by giving the defense a choice: either stipulate to pay plaintiff $150,000 for past pain and suffering and $100,000 for the future pain and suffering - or, the plaintiff will be given a new trial before a different jury on damages. The defense will still enjoy a victorious result despite having to pay an extra $225,000. Chung v Shaw, 2019 WL 4282074