In an unusually large verdict for a car crash, a teenager who hit another car has been ordered by a jury to pay the victim $3 million for head and back injuries.
One morning around 7:30 a.m., 17-year-old Victoria Scalzo pulled in front of the car of Matthew Hidek, a 42-year-old father on his way to work. She admitted that it was her fault, but did not think Hidek was badly injured.
According to Hidek’s lawsuit, he suffered severe orthopedic injuries plus a traumatic brain injury that damaged his memory and concentration. Scalzo challenged whether Hidek actually had a traumatic brain injury, which often does not exhibit physical damage and cannot be seen on scans.
But after hearing several medical providers testify in support of Hidek’s injuries during the seven-day trial, a jury agreed with him and awarded $3.4 million.
According to Hidek’s attorney, Michael Porter of the law firm Porter Norby Howe, juries usually only award multimillion dollar awards in crash cases where someone has died.
Attorney Michael Porter
Part of the reason for the large verdict was that Hidek was a Ph.D. student at Syracuse University Maxwell School and a professor at Cazenovia College. More than half of the damages, or $1.8 million, were allotted for the money Hidek would have earned had he not been injured.
According to Porter, Hidek has only been able to return to his teaching job part-time.
The other damages included past and future medical expenses and $325,000 for Hidek’s wife, Melissa, for the loss of his services.
“He was a very accomplished academic who had a lot of vocational potential ahead of him. But those are gone now,” Porter said.