In April 2019, an all-female New York jury awarded Robert Liciaga over $110 million for injuries he sustained after a railroad tie severed his spinal cord in the serious personal injury lawsuit Liciaga v. NYCTA, 513495.
Robert Liciaga was riding a bicycle to a video game store when a 10ft rail tie dislodged and shattered the 26-year old’s spinal cord.
The accident occurred during a New York City Transit Authority construction project to replace rail track ties.
New York Follows the Pure Comparative Negligence Doctrine
In a pure comparative negligence state like New York, a court will reduce the plaintiff’s damages by his or her percentage of fault.
So, if a jury determines that the plaintiff was 30% at fault for the accident that caused his injuries and awards $100,000, the plaintiff would be entitled to $70,000.
In the Liciaga case, the jury found that the New York Transit Authority was 100% liable for Liciaga’s injury.
Thus they had to pay out the entire $110 million in damages.
The plaintiff, in this case, testified that a construction worker at the scene told him it was safe to proceed where transit authority employees were removing tracks.
The jury likely considered this testimony in determining that the plaintiff did not share any of the fault in this accident.
What Did Liciaga Have to Prove to Succeed in This Lawsuit?
Liciaga’s attorneys argued that the New York City Transit Authority owed him a duty of reasonable care and breached that duty when they failed to include a barricade line or wall in front of Liciaga so he could not ride his bicycle through the area of the construction project.
They successfully demonstrated that their negligent acts caused his injuries.
What Monetary Amounts Did the Verdict Include?
The jury allocated $60 million for pain and suffering, $10 million for Liciaga’s past medical expenses and $40 million to cover the cost of nursing home care for the rest of Liciaga’s life.
Liciaga lost his ability to walk and his bowel, bladder, and sexual function as a result of the accident.
A statement issued by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chief External Affairs Officer Maxwell Young made it clear that the transit authority considers the verdict “grossly excessive” and that the transit authority intends to appeal the decision and ask the trial court to reduce the amount of the award.
Have You Been Injured in a Serious Accident? Let Us Help You
The Liciaga verdict demonstrates that New York juries are more than willing to award large sums of money to people seriously injured by the negligence or recklessness of others.
If you have experienced a severe accident caused by someone else’s negligence in New York City, Long Island, or Westchester, contact the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at Pulvers Thompson to set up your consultation.