Traumatic Brain Injury Pain and Suffering Verdict for 56 Year Old Man in Single Car Accident: $2,100,000 New York Appeals Court Decision

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On December 19, 2000, on Gallupville Road in the Town of Duanesburg in Schenectady County, New York, 56 year old Vincenzo Popolizio lost control of the car he was driving slowly down a steep, snow covered incline as he approached a sharp curve. His car slid across the roadway (designed and maintained by the county) and landed in a deep drainage ditch. Upon impact, Mr. Popolizio struck his head on the windshield and sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

A lawsuit against the County of Schenectady followed, with plaintiff claiming that the county was negligent in failing to safely design and maintain the roadway, failing to erect guardrails to prevent motorists from entering the ditch and building the ditch with an excessive and unsafe depth and slope. The jury agreed and despite the fact that it found plaintiff at fault for causing the accident to begin with, under settled legal principles the county was found 100% at fault for its negligence - where roadside hazards such as drainage ditches are inherently dangerous, a municipality has a duty to prevent cars from leaving the road or, if they do, to eliminate the danger.

The liability issue was hard fought and appealed but plaintiff won completely. The issue with which we are most concerned here at New York Injury Cases Blog is the pain and suffering award. The jury returned a verdict of $4,600,000 ($1,000,000 past - 5 1/2 years, $3,600,000 future - 23 years). On a post-trial motion directed to the trial judge, the verdict was reduced to $1,600,000 ($350,000 past, $1,250,000 future). Both parties appealed claiming that the pain and suffering amounts were either to high (the defendant's claim) or too low (the plaintiff's claim).

Please see full blog post for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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