On March 26, 2015, Salih Karasu, a 40 year old commercial roofing mechanic, was injured when he fell from a ladder about nine feet in the air, landing on and badly fracturing his ankle. He’d been working that day at Security Auto Sales in Amityville.
Mr. Karasu sued the owners of the premises where he fell and, after discovery, he was granted summary judgment as to liability under Labor Law Section 240(1). The matter then proceeded to a trial on damages only.
The Nassau County jury awarded plaintiff pain and suffering damages in the sum of $2,000,000 ($1,000,000 past – seven years, $1,000,000 future – 10 years).
The jury also awarded future economic damages as follows:
- Medical and Physical Therapy Expenses – $1,500,000 (14 years)
- Lost Earnings – $892,424 (10 years)
- Social Security Retirement benefits – $277,318 (14 years)
Together with $125,000 loss of services/consortium damages to plaintiff’s wife, the total jury award was $5,130,137.
Defendants argued that the evidence was insufficient to support the future economic damages awards. In Karasu v. Security Auto Sales, Inc. (Supreme Court, Nassau County, 2022), the trial judge agreed noting that the testimony as to future medical expenses and physical therapy was speculative at best and that plaintiff had already stopped seeing his doctor or going to physical therapy. Furthermore, plaintiff had returned to work earning more than he had before the accident.
The judge ordered future economic damages reductions in the sum of $2,357,106 as follows:
- medical expenses and physical therapy, from $1,500,000 to $137,200
- lost earnings, from $892,424 to $133,838 and
- Social Security retirement benefits, from $277,318 to $41,598
Defendants also argued that the pain and suffering award was excessive but the judge upheld the $2,000,000 pain and suffering damages award.
Here are the injury details:
- right ankle pilon fracture requiring external fixator for three weeks followed by open reduction internal fixation surgery with hardware insertion and, two years later, surgery to remove the hardware
- unable to weight bear for nine months
- unable to return to work for two years
- continuing pain for which ankle fusion surgery was recommended