New York trampoline award upheld by Appellate Division

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What will be the long-term consequences of an injury? After many accidents, it can be hard to know in the days that follow. An upstate trampoline injury case illustrates what can go wrong.

A woman in her 50s was visiting relatives and playing with her 9-year-old nephew on a trampoline. The Troy Record explained that a “double-bounce” knocked her off balance and the unexpected impact fractured several bones in her left foot.

Multiple surgeries and years later

There are 26 bones and 33 joints in your foot supported by hundreds of muscles, tendons and ligaments. Repairing a foot injury is not always an easy process. The injured woman underwent four surgeries. Several involved inserting implements and fusing joints.

Was she able to walk again after the four surgeries? It’s not an easy answer. After four years, she could walk slowly with a limp. She developed post-traumatic arthritis, which left her in constant pain. An orthopedic surgeon opined that the fusion would permanently limit her mobility.

The court case

She filed a premises liability claim, which went to trial. A jury awarded her $220,000 for pain she had suffered and $580,000 for future pain and suffering.

Who was the defendant in the case? It was the woman’s brother and sister-in-law, but their homeowners’ insurance company has paid the legal fees. Why was the verdict appealed? Two arguments:

  • The award of future pain and suffering was excessive
  • She assumed the risk – assumption of risk is a legal concept that we will discuss in more detail in a future post

The Appellate Division justices were not persuaded. It still may take the state’s highest court to weigh in to end the case.

This case is a reminder of why it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney after an accident. Learn all your legal options and never accept an insurance settlement before fully understanding the severity and scope of an injury.

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