Appeals Court Increases Jury Verdict for Knee Replacement from $50,000 to $200,000

Court: Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York

Case: Algerio v. Caribbean Air Conditioning

Date: Aug. 1, 2012

From: New York attorney Gary E. Rosenberg (personal injury and accident attorney and lawyer; serving Brooklyn and Queens; Queens accident attorney)

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Facts: The appeals court undoes a Suffolk County jury's too-low $50,000 damages award in this accident case.

However, this appeals court decision is of little use to those of us who look to appellate decisions to give guidance. The problem being that while the damages award to the accident victim in this case is increased from $50,000 to $200,000, the court only tells us that there was a knee injury, without describing the nature of the injury. Unfortunately, this happens all too often when appellate courts decide these types of cases.

In this instance, I was able to read from the official N.Y.S. courts web site the lower court decision being appealed, so I now understand and can explain the higher court's reasoning.

In addition to the $50,000 being a low damages award figure, the jury awarded the entire amount for "past pain and suffering" and nothing for "future pain and suffering." It also didn't award any money to this accident victim's husband for the impact that his wife's injury had on his life.

The plaintiff's injury was as follows:

She had arthritis in her knee before the accident. In 2007 she had arthroscopic knee surgery and a total knee replacement in 2009. The theory of her case was that the accident made her degenerative knee condition worse. Her surgeon testified that her arthritis was not caused by the accident but that the accident made it worse.

Held: The jury award s increased form $50,000 to $200,000, which the defense can refuse to accept in which case there will be a new trialnas to the amount of damages to be awarded to this accident victim.

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