The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position after a jury trial verdict for plaintiff. Reviewing this kind of briefing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in a personal injury case present such issues to the court.
(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this auto accident/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
Damages awards upheld in other cases involving similar injuries further illustrate the true departure from reality reflected by the award to Mr. Ward. (See Westphal v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 1071, 1074-1077 [in upholding $150,000 in non-economic damages for slip-and-fall injury to legs and lower back of 55-year old woman, trial court remarked that the award was generous, where plaintiff suffered from ongoing, chronic, permanent pain from myofascial pain syndrome, which limited her mobility, caused her to be physically weak, and prevented her from working at her job]; Springmeyer v. Ford Motor Co. (1998) 60 Cal.App.4th 1541, 1546-1547 [where plaintiff’s arm was severed by fan, resulting in permanent loss of use of dominant hand after reattachment, chronic and severe pain, and inability to work, jury awarded non-economic damages of $2.5 million];
Damele v. Mack Trucks, Inc. (1990) 219 Cal.App.3d 29, 34-38 [where plaintiff suffered “massive crush injury” to his left chest and shoulder from being trapped between a 65,000-pund truck and its trailer, causing massive blood loss, kidney failure, crushing of shoulder blade, nerve damage in arm, shearing-off of ligaments and muscles in arm, collapsed lung, repeated operations, permanent loss of use of arm, and permanent pain in shoulder, jury awarded $568,000 in non-economic damages, upheld by reviewing court]; Honea v. Matson Navigation Co. (N.D. Cal. 1972) 336 F.Supp. 793, 795, 797-799 [where slip-and-fall resulted in fractured left hip, death of a piece of bone due to lack of blood supply, and possible permanent confinement to a wheelchair, court awarded $75,000 in non-economic damages, including pain and suffering];
Seffert v. Los Angeles Transit Lines, supra, 56 Cal.2d at pp. 504, 506, 508-509 [bus accident caused fractures of left heel and shin bones, severed nerves and arteries to left foot and persistent open ulcer; Court conceded that non-pecuniary damages award of $134,000 was high but upheld it, stating that it was intended to compensate for pain and suffering, past and future, humiliation as a result of being disfigured and permanently crippled, and constant anxiety and fear that the leg will have to be amputated ];
McNulty v. Southern Pacific Co. (1950) 96 Cal.App.2d 841, 846 [for loss of one leg above the knee and loss of the other leg below the knee, caused by train-pedestrian accident, court upheld jury’s award of non-economic damages of just over $97,000]; Huggans v. Southern Pacific Co. (1949) 92 Cal.App.2d 599, 601, 615-616 [where plaintiff, a 12-year-old boy, lost left leg below the knee and major portion of his right foot, the court upheld award of over $10,000 in non-economic damages].) (See Part 12 of 14.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.