The New York Supreme Court has refused plaintiffs in a pedestrian bus accident claim a new trial after a jury award of compensation was considered modest.
Leslie Lariviere (39) suffered a head injury on 9th December 2008 when she was hit on the head by a bus´s side view mirror as she crossed a street in Brooklyn. Leslie was taken to hospital by ambulance, where a CT scan failed to reveal any brain injury and she was diagnosed with concussion.
Told to go home and rest, Leslie experienced dizzy spells and feelings of nausea over the following weeks. In January 2009 she suffered a seizure and was hospitalized for four days. As she was often suffering headaches and migraines, Leslie was unable to return to her job as a restaurant hostess and became a recluse.
To recover compensation for her medical bills and loss of income, Leslie made a pedestrian bus accident claim against the New York City Transport Authority. She was granted a summary judgement on liability in 2011, and – after a failed appeal by the New York City Transport Authority – her pedestrian bus accident claim was heard at the New York Appellant Court for the assessment of damages.
At the Appellant Court, expert witnesses gave evidence that Leslie had a significant and ongoing brain injury. However, lawyers for the New York City Transit Authority argued that she was not being honest about her symptoms and persuaded the jury that Leslie´s injury was relatively minor and exaggerated by a pre-existing condition.
The jury awarded Leslie $152,000 compensation in settlement of her bus accident claim to account for her past pain and suffering as well as her medical bills and loss of income. Leslie´s husband, David, was also awarded compensation for the loss of services by his wife.
Leslie´s lawyers were unhappy with the award and entered a motion for a new hearing. They claimed that comments made by defense lawyers were prejudicial to the settlement of compensation awarded by the jury. However, the New York Supreme Court denied the motion – saying that in the context of the hearing, the comments had not denied Leslie a fair trial.