On May 20, 2008, Alexander Nayberg was stopped at a red light in Garden City when two other cars collided in the intersection and one of them struck Mr. Nayberg’s car in the rear.
In the ensuing litigation, a Nassau County jury found that the two colliding drivers were each 50% at fault for the accident and Mr. Nayberg’s injuries and they awarded pain and suffering damages in the sum of $1,600,000 ($600,000 past – six years, $1,000,000 future – 20 years).
In Nayberg v. Nassau County (2d Dept. 2017), the appellate court affirmed the damages awards.
Here are the injury details:
- herniated disc at C6-7 requiring cervical discectomy and fusion surgery three years later with the insertion of a plate and four titanium screws
- additional cervical fusion surgery required in future at levels(s) above and/or below C6-7
- fractured teeth and bridge requiring seven extensive dental procedures including extractions, implants and bone grafts
Plaintiff, 54 years old when the accident occurred, had been employed at Bloomingdale’s earning $70,000 a year as an operating director in its restaurant division for seven years until a few months before when he was laid off in an economic downturn. He then formed his own construction company and one week before the accident, he was offered his first job but he was physically unable to take it. When this case was tried, plaintiff was still in pain, unable to help his wife with household chores, pick up anything more than 10 pounds or engage in construction work.
The jury also awarded plaintiff, and the appellate court affirmed, damages for lost earnings in the sum of $773,751 ($447,858 past – six years, $325,893 future – 16 1/2 years). The defense argued that the entire lost earnings award was speculative and should be vacated because it was based upon plaintiff’s expected lost income from a start-up business. The appellate court rejected the argument noting that plaintiff established this claim with reasonable certainty through his own testimony and that of an expert economist and that the defendants failed to submit any evidence in opposition.
The jury also awarded damages for future medical expenses (for additional spinal surgery) in the sum of $200,000 (10 years) and future dental expenses in the sum of $25,000 (two years).
- There was no award for loss of consortium damages claimed by Mr. Nayberg’s wife.