Salemi v. Parker
At a trial to the bench, a court can award economic damages for medical expenses, as well as non-economic damages for pain and suffering, and then subtract the amount paid by collateral sources. In September 2009, the defendant driver, who had obtained his driver's license the previous week, allegedly turned left onto the Boston Post Road and collided with the plaintiff driver. The plaintiff credibly testified that she had been traveling only 25 to 30 miles per hour when the defendant suddenly pulled in front of her and that she was unable to avoid the collision between the front of the plaintiff's motor vehicle and the left side of the defendant's motor vehicle. At a trial to the bench, the court found that the plaintiff driver possessed the right of way and was not negligent. Allegedly, the plaintiff driver's chest and abdomen struck the steering wheel, the impact was severe and the plaintiff required surgeries for a hernia and to reconstruct her abdomen. The defendant's expert, John Amodeo, opined that there was no causal connection between the motor-vehicle accident and abdominal surgery, because there were no complaints about abdominal pain immediately after the motor-vehicle accident. An Oct. 7, 2009, medical report indicated that the plaintiff had complained about abdominal pain. The court found it more probable than not that the September 2009, motor-vehicle collision caused the plaintiff's hernia and related surgeries. The plaintiff proved, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the plaintiff's medical treatment was reasonable and necessary. The plaintiff's medical expenses were $114,662. The court awarded economic damages of $114,662. The plaintiff's surgeries led to scars and recovery was difficult. The plaintiff required assistance in the home. The court credited the plaintiff's testimony she was uncomfortable and embarrassed. The court awarded the plaintiff non-economic damages in the amount of $330,000, for a total award in the amount of $444,662. The parties stipulated that there were collateral source payments in the amount of approximately $62,160, and the court granted judgment to the plaintiff in the amount of $382,501.