Court Affirms Majority of Jury’s Verdict But Reverses Part Based on Speculative Evidence

Earlier this month, an appellate court in Florida issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that illustrates an important concept in Maryland car accident cases. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss which level of proof is sufficient to support a jury’s award of compensation to an accident victim. Ultimately, the court concluded that the jury’s verdict regarding future medical expenses was based on the evidence, but the verdict insofar as it pertained to the plaintiff’s loss of wages was not.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured in a car accident that was undisputedly caused by the defendant. The plaintiff’s injuries were severe, and the plaintiff had an expert witness testify on her behalf. The expert expressed a need for palliative care, cervical surgery, and potentially lumbar surgery.

The expert explained that the estimated cost of palliative care was between $525,000 and $850,000. The expert also explained that cervical surgery would improve the plaintiff’s quality of life, and he recommended the surgery be performed. The expert testified that such a surgery may prevent the need for lumbar surgery. The cervical surgery was estimated to cost between $90,000 and $120,000, and the lumbar surgery was estimated to cost between $60,000 and $90,000.

The plaintiff also sought compensation for her lost wages. In support of this claim, the plaintiff herself testified that she was afraid of losing her job. However, there was no testimony that her ability to perform her job was actually affected by her injuries.

After the trial, the jury awarded the plaintiff $353,000. This figure included amounts for both future medical expenses as well as the plaintiff’s loss in wages. The defendant appealed, arguing that the award of future medical expenses was speculative because the need for surgery was not clearly established and that the award for lost wages was improper because the plaintiff failed to present proof that her injuries would result in any loss in wages.

The court affirmed the verdict regarding the future medical expenses, finding that the amount awarded by the jury was within the estimate for palliative care alone, which was sufficiently established. However, the court agreed with the defendant that the plaintiff’s claim for lost wages was speculative. The court explained that a plaintiff must show that her loss in wages is “reasonably certain” in order to sustain a verdict. Here, the only evidence presented was the plaintiff’s fear of losing her job, which was insufficient.

Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Maryland personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience handling all types of Maryland car accident claims, including those involving contested injuries and the need for extensive medical treatment in the future. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.

More Blog Posts:

Court Determines Jury Was Permitted to Find Witness Testimony Speculative When Failing to Award Plaintiff Future Medical Expenses, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published January 3, 2018.

Court Reverses Car Accident Plaintiff’s Summary Judgment Award Regarding Future Medical Expenses, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published December 18, 2017.

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