A 19-year-old man who was taken to the hospital with swelling and bruising around the right eye. A CT scan of his face indicated a right lateral wall orbit fracture.
He also sustained a comminuted fracture of the right femur.
He underwent surgery to insert a rod in his leg, which was stabilized with locking screws.
He underwent a second surgery to repair his facial fractures with a titanium plate and screws. He spent one week in the hospital, two months on bed-rest, six weeks on crutches, and underwent rehabilitation therapy.
He is able to walk, but continues to have problems with his leg. In cold weather, he experiences a sharp, stabbing pain throughout the leg, which prevents him from engaging in sports activities.
He is unable to run. Prior to the accident, the he suffered from headaches, but four to five months after the accident, he began to suffer migraines in the area of the right orbital injury.
According to the mortality tables, the plaintiff is anticipated to live another 54.2 years.
A neurologist retained by the defense also examined him and said that his headaches were not causally related to the accident. Nevertheless the neurologist conceded the plaintiff suffered trauma, lost consciousness, and amnesia—all relevant signs of a severe head injury.
The plaintiff’s orthopedic surgeon opined that he had suffered a permanent injury to his right leg and that fractures of the femur do not heal exactly the same as before the accident.
The defense expert found the victim suffered five-percent impairment to his body from the leg fracture, but he found no functional limitation. He agreed that the plaintiff’s past medical expenses were reasonable, necessary, and related to the accident.
The jury also found he sustained a permanent injury. They awarded $200,000.00 in past pain and suffering, and $375,000.00 in future pain and suffering. Testimony reflected the effect of his injuries on his ability to enjoy life.
Experts testified that the plaintiff’s migraines were caused by the facial injury. Miami lawyers represented Adams. A Tallahassee, Florida attorney represented Mauricio Saavedra.
Florida’s District Court of Appeal Fourth District issued its ruling on July 27, 2011.
The 4th District is composed of the following counties: Palm Beach, Broward, St. Lucie, Martin, Indian River, and Okeechobee Counties. The case is Adams v. Saavedra, 65 So.3d 1185 (Fla. App., 2011).
That means that a similar pain and suffering jury award will not be overturned in the future in the Florida 4th District Court of Appeal.
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