On August 26, 2016, Vincent Madia was injured in a collision between his motorcycle and a taxi at the intersection of Fish and Waring Avenues in the Bronx.
In the ensuing trial, the jury awarded pain and suffering damages in the sum of $5,000 (past only – three years). In her post-trial decision on plaintiff’s motion to increase the award, the trial judge determined that $250,000 for past pain and suffering is reasonable. The judge did not disturb the jury’s zero award for future pan and suffering.
In Madia v. Garcia (1st Dept. 2021), the trial judge’s order has been affirmed.
Here are the injury details:
- herniated disc at C5-6 and bulges at C3-4 and C4-5
- ankle fracture (distal tibia)
Plaintiff, then 24 years old, was taken from the scene by ambulance to the local hospital where he complained of leg and neck pain. X-rays appeared to show an ankle fracture for which he was casted for seven weeks and then required a walking boot for another four weeks. Later MRI studies showed the herniated disc in his neck for which he underwent physical therapy and took narcotic pain medication. Plaintiff testified he had lingering issues in his leg (e.g., a pinching sensation), his neck injury causes daily discomfort and he could no longer go to the gym or play sports. His treating physiatrist testified that plaintiff has a permanent neck injury with range of motion deficits.
The defense neurologist opined that plaintiff had no neurological problems as a result of the accident, his physical therapy lasted only a few months, the ankle x-rays showed merely a suspicion of a nondisplaced distal tibia fracture and that plaintiff’s prognosis was “good.” The defense argued that plaintiff sustained a mere sprain of his ankle in this case, not a fracture.
- The jury ruled that each driver was equally at fault for the crash (exactly the split that defense counsel suggested in his closing argument).
- In his closing argument, plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award pain and suffering damages in the sum of $400,000 ($250,000 past, $150,000 future); defense counsel suggested $10,000.
- Plaintiff was arrested in the hospital upon defendant’s complaint that he angrily punched the hood of his car causing a dent. Plaintiff denied doing so and the charges were later dropped.