Date: August 14, 2015
Orange County Superior Court
Premises Liability/Assault Personal Injury
Beverly P v. Glenn, et al.
Large Pain and Suffering Award for Personal Injury Victim
Trial Lawyers George Chakmakis and Matthew Blair obtained a $2,547,350.60 award in favor of their client. The plaintiff sustained injuries to her neck and back, and she could only return to one of her two jobs. However, the majority of the court’s award is based on the plaintiff’s pain and suffering, with related psychological damages. “I read about bouncer and security guard cases where they beat someone and the victim only gets $10,000.00. I am glad this court, this time, put some real value on the effects of an assault,” said George Chakmakis.
Orange County Personal lnjury Cases
“The Orange County courthouse can be a difficult place to get substantial pain and suffering awards for personal injury claimants,” according to attorney Chakmakis. The Orange County jurisdiction is generally more conservative. This has apparently led to personal injury verdicts that are lower than neighboring counties such as Los Angeles. However, this case seems to break that pattern. Orange County personal injury verdicts are often limited to reimbursement of past and future medical bills, some lost earnings, and a small amount of pain and suffering compensation. In this case however, the pain and suffering award far exceeds the economic damages.
Attorney George Chakmakis further commented: “This award better reflects the value of human suffering and the psychological components of injuries and disabilities. Insurance companies have spent millions to demonize the phrase “pain and suffering,” but it’s real. Ask anyone that has gone through it. And it’s the law…juries are required to compensate an injured person for pain and suffering, but too often I read about juries that ignore the law and either low ball it or give nothing.”
California Jury Instruction for Pain and Suffering
The relevant instructions required by law for California juries are as follows:
California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)
JURY INSTRUCTION 3901.
If you decide that [name of plaintiff] was harmed and that [name of defendant]’s [insert description of cause of action, e.g., “negligence”] was a substantial factor in causing the harm, you also must decide how much money will reasonably compensate [name of plaintiff] for the harm. This compensation is called “damages.”
The amount of damages must include an award for each item of harm that was caused by [name of defendant]’s wrongful conduct, even if the particular harm could not have been anticipated.
[Name of plaintiff] does not have to prove the exact amount of damages that will provide reasonable compensation for the harm. However, you must not speculate or guess in awarding damages.
[The following are the specific items of damages claimed by [name of plaintiff]:]
JURY INSTRUCTION 3905A. Physical Pain, Mental Suffering, and Emotional Distress (Noneconomic Damage)
Past and future physical pain/ mental suffering/loss of enjoyment of life/disfigurement/physical impairment/inconvenience/grief/anxiety/humiliation/emotional distress [insert other damages].
To recover for future [insert item of pain and suffering], [name of plaintiff] must prove that [he/she] is reasonably certain to suffer that harm.
No fixed standard exists for deciding the amount of these damages. You must use your judgment to decide a reasonable amount based on the evidence and your common sense.
Your award for noneconomic damages should not be reduced to present cash value.
Personal Injury Lawyers
Chakmakis Law is a Personal Injury and Wrongful Death law firm in Southern California. George Chakmakis is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates ABOTA. Mr. Chakmakis was included in the 2014 and 2015 Southern California Super Lawyers List for Personal Injury Attorneys. Attorney Matthew Blair is a 2014 and 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Star for Personal Injury, a selection limited to the top 5% of lawyers under 40. Mr. Chakmakis was also lead trial counsel in the landmark product defect trial, Newman v. Amigo Mobility, Los Angeles Superior Court, Compton Courthouse.
Related Articles: Personal Injury Lawyers, Super Lawyers
Also See: Premises Liability