Tragedy usually comes when you least expect it. Here, it occurred when a 74-year-old man had a slip and fall accident on a NYC subway. He learned this when he slipped and fell as he went down stairs to the subway. At the time he was attempting to board the train at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. As he attempted to walk down the stairs he almost instantly lost his footing. He fell from a faulty tread that angled downward and loose to the touch. Upon engaging this thread, the man was unable to keep his balance and fell down the entire stairway.
As a result of the fall, the plaintiff (the injured man) suffered life-changing injuries to his neck. An ambulance took the man to a local emergency room. At the ER, he explained to the doctors and staff that he had significant pain in his cervical spine. After examination and testing, the staff explained to the plaintiff he had dislocated a bone in his spine. Upon treating with a specialist, the injured man had a diagnosis of a fractured lamina in his neck spine. He also sustained a herniated disc in the same area. With injuries this severe, his only option was surgery. The plaintiff underwent fusion surgery to his neck which included metal plates and multiple screws. Following more than a week of inpatient care, the plaintiff underwent physical therapy for a number of years.
Despite plaintiff’s efforts to improve his physical condition, he experienced stabbing pain in his neck. The pain affected him at home significantly. The plaintiff’s wife is disabled, and he is her caregiver. The injury has prevented him from doing so. He also had no choice but quit his job as a janitor. The plaintiff’s 16 year old grandson, explained to the jury just how difficult his life was after the accident.
Notably, the defendant did not call any medical witnesses to dispute the medical diagnosis or treatment. This is particularly important because the defendant disclosed multiple physicians prior to trial but was not able to produce those witnesses. The judge gave the jury a missing witness charge. This helped the jury reach their decision. This is another reason why trial may be the best option for a case. It is important to make the defendant come through on their previous disclosures. If they do not, it can positively affect the outcome of the trial for the plaintiff.
At trial, the jury found that the defendant was 86% at fault for the accident on NYC subway and the plaintiff was 14% at fault. This apportionment meant plaintiff’s money damages award got reduced to 86% of the jury’s total value for his injuries. Upon considering the injuries, the jury awarded $1,200,000 in past pain and suffering. The jury also awarded $1,000,000 in future pain and suffering for a total of $2,200,000. It also heard evidence that the plaintiff, who was 74 when his accident occurred, intended to work until 79. The jury awarded him $240,000 in past lost wages and $250,000 in future lost wages for a total of $490,000.
The jury also addressed the issue of medical expenses. They found he incurred $350,000 in past medical expenses and $255,582 in future medical expenses for a total of $605,582. The future medical expenses included x-rays, EMG studies, MRIs, physical therapy and additional injections to his neck.
Following the verdict, the defendant appealed. Although the defendant appealed the verdict, the appellate court only reduced the pain and suffering award to $1,675,000. The other portions of the award remained unchanged. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, please contact The Platta Law Firm for a free legal consultation by calling 212–514–5100 (24/7), emailing [email protected] or visiting our law firm in Financial District of Manhattan (42 Broadway, Suite 1927). You can also ask us questions using the 24-hour chat box on our website (www.plattalaw.com). We offer free consultations for all potential personal injury cases.