On February 21, 2019, the appellate court covering Bronx County refused to reduce the largest jury award ever in New York for an ankle fracture. The jury awarded $6.1 million to a woman, in her early 30's at the time, for past and future pain and suffering and another $2,547,054 for future medical expenses. The appellate court reduced the award for future medical expenses by only $300,000. The plaintiff sustained a trimalleolar ankle fracture requiring two surgeries as a result of a fall down a dangerous staircase. The plaintiff developed traumatic arthritis, which is expected with this type of injury, but also reflex sympathetic dystrophy which is an unusual extremely painful condition.
The defendant's argument that an ankle fusion would alleviate plaintiff's pain was not proven as none of the physician's at trial testified that a fusion would eliminate or reduce the pain. Worse yet for the defendant's, the appellate court agreed the defense was not entitled to a collateral source hearing (to reduce the medical expense award by expected future benefits of health insurance) because there was no evidence plaintiff would receive such benefits. Kromah v 2265 Davidson Realty LLC, 2019 N.Y. Slip Op. 01301