An accident on a NYC subway staircase can lead to catastrophic injuries. For example, a 51-year-old woman tripped over a missing floor tile and fell. The fall happened as she was walking down a staircase leading to an underpass in a NYC subway station. The woman fell forward and landed on the fourth step down. She fractured her right ankle. The fracture required surgery in the form of open reduction internal fixation.
As a result of the fall on the staircase, the woman sued the New York City Transit Authority to recover damages for personal injuries. At trial on the issue of liability, the jury found the defendant 80% liable. Accordingly, the plaintiff was 20% liable. On the issue of damages, the jury granted a verdict finding that the woman suffered damages in the sum of $35,000 for future medical expenses, $600,000 for past pain and suffering, and $1,000,000 for future pain and suffering fro the staircase fall. The defendant filed a motion to set aside the verdict as excessive. The lower court ordered a new trial as to those damages unless the parties agreed to reduce the verdict as to past pain and suffering from $600,000 to $150,000 and as to future pain and suffering from $1,000,000 to $250,000. The plaintiff appealed the decision on this NYC subway staircase accident.
The First Appeal of the Stairway Accident
On appeal, the Appellate Court modified the lower court’s order granting those branches of the defendant’s motion to the extent of directing a new trial as to those damages unless the plaintiff consented to reduced verdict as to past pain and suffering from the principal sum of $600,000 to the principal sum of $200,000 and as to future pain and suffering from the principal sum of $1,000,000 to the principal sum of $250,000. Not surprisingly, the Plaintiff again did not agree and a new trial took place. The plaintiff was convinced that the prior jury awards given for the life changing injuries sustained in this NYC subway accident were justified.
The Court’s Decision as to Whether the NYC Subway Staircase Accident Required Another Trial
A new trial on the issue of damages sustained from the NYC subway staircase fall was held. At the trial, a jury found that the plaintiff sustained damages in the amount of $600,000. The Court entered judgment in favor of plaintiff in the sum of $480,000. The defendant again appealed. Similarly, the defendant argued that it was entitled to dismissal or the court should set aside the jury verdict.
The Appellate Court noted that it will not set aside a jury verdict as against the weight of the evidence unless the jury could not have reached the verdict by any fair interpretation of the evidence. Here, the Court did not feel setting aside the verdict from the subway accident was warranted. It affirmed the lower court’s decision.
Notably, the courts defer to juries’ determinations as to the credibility of witnesses and the balancing of evidence. Therefore, the court will only adjust a jury award where the record shows the award deviates from what would be reasonable. The verdict must be one that could not have been reached on any fair interpretation of the evidence. A NYC subway staircase accident requires a skilled attorney to flesh out issues during discovery and at trial.