Sometimes, you can read a court's decision and, if for no other reason, it is extremely valuable as a reminder of a most important lesson. The January 20 decision that was rendered by a New York County trial court in Sourifman v. Amie Cab Corp. is precisely one such case.
First, some factual background is in order. In this case, the plaintiff suffered blunt force trauma to her head, a misalligned and fractured jaw and teeth when a Transit Authority bus collided with the cab in which she was a passenger. At trial, the jury heard the plaintiff's uncontroverted testimony about the exruciating pain she endured as the doctors re-set her jaw, just so it could have some mobility again.
Although the jury found the defendants responsible for this auto accident (which makes sense, given that the plaintiff was a mere passenger), you would also surmise that the jury would then award the plaintiff with a fair amount of damages, particularly given that her injuries regarding her fractured jaw and teeth were largely uncontested.
But you'd be terribly wrong.
The jury awarded her $13,000 for both her past pain and suffering as well as her future suffering and medical expenses. Even though the trial judge ordered that a new trial be held unless the parties stipulated to a higher number of $85,000 (which, in legalese, is referred to as "additur"), the essential lesson should not be lost: if you go to trial, there is always the risk that a New York jury will not award you what you believe (whether rightfully or wrongfully) is fair and just compensation for your personal injuries.
For additional information on this topic, please see "When Can a Trial Court Modify the Size of a Jury's Award Under NY Law?"