New York Appellate Court Provides Guidance as to Value of Cervical Spine Surgery
In Swatland v Kyle, 130 A.D.3d 1453 (N.Y. App. Div. 4th Dep't 2015), Plaintiff commenced an action to recover damages for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. At trial, Plaintiff’s testimony and the medical evidence demonstrated that the Plaintiff sustained herniated discs at C5-C6 and C6-C7 that required surgery. The jury returned a verdict for Plaintiff and awarded Plaintiff $30,000 for past pain and suffering and $15,000 for future pain and suffering.
Plaintiff made a post-trial motion seeking to increase the damage awards for past and future pain and suffering, or in the alternative, a new trial on damages. The trial court denied the post-trial motion. On appeal, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department modified the trial court’s ruling on the post-trial motion. The Fourth Department held the jury’s award materially deviated from what would be reasonable compensation for Plaintiff’s injuries. Accordingly, the Fourth Department held that Plaintiff was entitled to a new trial on damages for past and future pain and suffering, unless Defendants stipulated to increase the award of damages for past pain and suffering to $150,000 and future pain and suffering to $50,000.
The Court’s opinion provides guidance to attorneys and insurance companies evaluating damages for cervical injuries for cases pending in the Fourth Department.
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