On November 16, 2015, Roseann Maurer was stopped in her car waiting to tun left into a driveway on Big Tree Road in Wales (about 25 miles southeast of Buffalo) when another car struck hers in the rear end. Ms. Maurer sustained knee, neck and low back injuries.
After summary judgment as to liability was granted in her favor against the other driver, Ms. Maurer’s lawsuit proceeded to a trial on the issue of damages only. The Erie County jury awarded her pain and suffering damages in the sum of $374,000 ($108,000 past – three years, $266,000 future – 20 years).
Plaintiff contended that the pain and suffering awards were inadequate. Both the trial judge and the appellate court agreed (as to the future pain and suffering award) and in Maurer v. Colton (4th Dept. 2020) the total pain and suffering award was increased to $588,000 ($108,000 past, $480,000 future).
Here are the injury details:
- Right Knee: complex medial meniscus tear and Grade III chondromalacia requiring two arthroscopic meniscectomies and chondroplasties (and knee replacement surgery may be required within 5-10 years)
- Back: L2 inferior end plate compression fracture and herniated discs at L1-4 (and at other lumbar levels), with radiating pain and permanent significant losses of range of motion (and a two level discectomy and fusion surgery may be required in the future)
- Neck: herniated discs at C4-7 (and at other cervical levels), with radiating pain and permanent significant losses of range of motion (and a three level discectomy and fusion surgery may be required in the future)
- At the time of the crash, plaintiff was 62 years old and the caretaker of her young grandson.
- During deliberations, the jury sent out a note asking for the testimony given as to the cost of the future cervical and lumbar surgeries.