On June 18, 2015, Gwendolyn Williams was passenger in a vehicle operated by Patrick Ncho who ran a stop sign and was struck by another vehicle.
Ms. Williams, then 38 years old, sustained injuries and was transported to the local hospital with complaints of pain in her neck, back, right knee and right shoulder. She was treated for soft tissue injuries and released the same day.
In her ensuing Kings County lawsuit against both drivers, the jury rendered a verdict finding that Mr. Ncho was fully at fault. A damages only trial followed in which the jury awarded plaintiff pain and suffering damages in the sum of $100,000 ($25,000 past – four and a half years, $75,000 future -10 years).
The jury found that the so-called serious injury threshold (Insurance Law Section 5102) had been met as to plaintiff’s right knee injury because she was prevented from performing substantially all of the material acts that constituted her usual and customary activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the accident.
Defendant moved to set aside the verdict arguing that the evidence was insufficient to meet the threshold. The trial judge agreed and dismissed the case.
Plaintiff appealed. In Williams v. Ncho, (2d Dept. 2023) the appellate court reinstated the jury’s verdict.
Here are the injury details:
- torn medial meniscus in knee requiring arthroscopic surgery on 9/10/15 (84 days post-accident) in which the meniscus and some irregularity on the kneecap were trimmed
- unable to perform daily activities as to her three year old daughter (plaintiff was a stay-at-home single mother) including an inability to play with her, pick her up, or bathe her because of painful limitations
- pre-operative use of anti-inflammatories, physical therapy and an injection
- post-operative pain and loss of range of motion
- The verdict sheet specifically listed each of plaintiff’s claimed injuries and the jury rejected them all except for the right knee.
- Plaintiff’s daughter was also injured in the accident and she settled her claim before the damages trial for $9,000.