Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Jury's Verdict for Economic Damages But No Pain and Suffering Damages Allowed to Stand

In the non-precedential decision in the case of Pierchalski v. Thomas, No. 672 WDA 2019 (Pa. Super. May 26, 2020 Shogan, J., Olson, J. and Ford Elliot, P.J.E.) (Mem. Op. by Shogan, J.), the Pennsylvania Superior Court addressed an appeal in a rear-end accident case in which a jury, after a seven (7) day trial, issued a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff in the amount of only $1,455.99 in economic damages. 

The Opinion confirms that while the defense admitted fault for the subject accident, the defense asserted that the Plaintiff's alleged pain and damages were not caused by the subject accident, but rather any of the number of prior and subsequent accidents that the Plaintiff had otherwise been involved in over time.   

The jury found that the Defendant’s negligence was a factual cause of the Plaintiff’s injuries and, as noted, only awarded economic damages. However, the jury did not enter any award for past medical expenses, past or future pain and suffering, or loss of consortium. 

The Plaintiff filed an appeal raising multiple issues including whether a new trial should be ordered on the ground that the jury’s verdict was inadequate where the jury awarded economic damages that were lost allegedly as a result of the injuries alleged, and yet failed to award any non-economic damages award for pain and suffering. 

After reviewing the record before it, the Superior Court did not find that the jury’s award was contrary to the weight of the evidence or that the jury’s award shocked the judicial conscience. 

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney Thomas McDonnell of the Pittsburgh law firm of Summers, McDonnell, Hudock, Guthrie & Rauch, P.C. for bringing this case to my attention.

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