Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Iowa heard a case that required the court to determine whether the jury-determined award of $1 for the plaintiff’s pain and suffering was consistent with the jury’s determination that the man incurred nearly $17,000 in medical bills. Ultimately, the court held that the $1 award was in line with the jury’s determination that the plaintiff’s reimbursable medical expenses were $17,000.
The facts giving rise to the case are fairly straightforward. The plaintiff was a salesperson at a car dealership who was injured while he was riding as a passenger in a vehicle that was being test-driven by the defendant. According to the court’s written opinion, the driver of the vehicle made an illegal left turn, causing an accident with another vehicle.
As a result of the accident, the plaintiff suffers continuing headaches and pain in his back, neck, and shoulder. The injured salesperson filed suit against both the potential customer who was driving the car he was riding in as well as the other driver involved in the accident.
After a trial, the jury returned a verdict finding the potential customer 95% at fault and the plaintiff 5% at fault. No fault was attributed to the third-party driver. The jury also determined that the plaintiff was entitled to $17,000 for the medical expenses he incurred as a result of the accident. However, the jury initially awarded the plaintiff nothing for pain and suffering.
Both the plaintiff and the defendant agreed that the absence of a pain and suffering award was inconsistent with the jury’s verdict, and the judge instructed the jury to resume deliberations. The jury then returned an award of $1 for the plaintiff’s pain and suffering. The plaintiff, not satisfied with this result, appealed to a higher court.
On Appeal, the Plaintiff Receives a New Trial
The Supreme Court of Iowa disagreed that the pain and suffering damages award was in line with the medical expenses award and ordered a new trial. The court noted that the jury could have determined that the plaintiff was only eligible for nominal damages and awarded him $1 for the entirety of the case. However, by acknowledging that the defendant was responsible for $17,000 in medical expenses, the court held that there should be a more significant amount of compensation for the plaintiff’s pain and suffering. The court ordered a new trial.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a Maryland car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. While this case arose in Iowa, the laws in Maryland are similar to those that applied in this case, with one exception. Due to Maryland’s adherence to the “comparative fault” doctrine, a plaintiff will not be permitted to recover any damages if he is at all at fault in the accident. Even in a case such as this one, in which the plaintiff was just 5% at fault, the plaintiff may be barred from recovery. Given the legal landscape in which personal injury cases arise, it is incredibly important to have an attorney on your side throughout the entire proceeding. A dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC can help you navigate this area of the law and help you with any unanswered questions. Call 410-654-3600 today.
More Blog Posts:
Accident Victim’s Claim Against City that Concrete Barriers Were Improperly Installed Failed for Lack of Expert’s Testimony, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published December 9, 2015.
Court Finds “Good Faith” of Trooper Resulted in Governmental Immunity, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published December 16, 2015.