Monday, February 10, 2014

Appellate Case of First Impression - Future Medical Expenses Are To Be Included in Delay Damages Calculation

In a case of first impression, the Pennsylvania Superior Court recently ruled in Roth v. Ross and Erie Insurance Group, 977 MDA 2013, 2014 Pa.Super. 20 (Pa.Super. Feb. 7, 2014 Donohue, Ott, J.J., Platt, S.J.)(Opinion by Donohue, J.), that an award of future medical expenses in a personal injury case should be included in the calculation of delay damages due to the Plaintiff on a verdict.

In this Luzerne County Post-Koken case that went to verdict, the jury awarded $40,000 for past pain and suffering and $20,000 for future medical expenses.  In post-trial proceedings, the trial court limited the calculation of delay damages to only include the figure awarded for past pain and suffering on the grounds that no case law was provided to confirm that an award for future medical expenses fell within the definition of "bodily injury" in the context of Rule 238 pertaining to the calculation of delay damages.

The Superior Court reversed and remanded the case back to the trial court for an inclusion of the figure awarded for future medical expenses in the delay damages calculation as well.  The Superior Court found that the wording of Rule 238 was clear and unambiguous in requiring the addition of delay damages to the verdict in all civil cases where a plaintiff seeks monetary relief for bodily injury. 

The appellate court held that future medical expenses were indeed, "by definition," monetary relief for bodily injuries caused by the subject accident and, as such, should be included in the delay damages calculation.

Anyone wishing to review this Opinion by the Pennsylvania Superior Court in the Roth case may click this LINK.

I send thanks to the prevailing Plaintiff's Attorney Brian Butler of the Wilkes-Barre, PA office of Lenahan & Dempsey for bringing this case to my attention.

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