Big Awards, Big Showings of Justice – Law Offices of Aronberg & Aronberg

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There are varying degrees of justice and differing accounts of what can be defined as “justice.” In the legal system, justice is often equated to fairness. In a personal injury case, specifically, we can understand justice to be when the negligent, damage-causing party pays (figuratively and literally) for the wrong they have done (the damage they have caused the victim). While no amount of money can counteract the loss of mobility, enjoyment of life or in some cases a loved one, compensation can help the healing process in that it can assist the victims in their recovery by giving them one less (vitally important) thing to worry about.

In this blog, our journey of justice will take us across the United States, from the East Coast to the West Coast. We start close to home—actually, in our homein Palm Beach County, FL, with our first jury award. A jury recently awarded $1.7 million to a girl who was attacked and allegedly raped by a then-15-year old high school freshman when she was only three years old. The girl, who suffered an incredible trauma, will require related medical care for the rest of her life. The attack and alleged rape by the perpetrator (who obviously engaged in criminal action) was not handled in this specific personal injury case—instead, this case centered around the girl’s parents’ lawsuit against the Palm Beach County School District for negligently leaving the 15-year-old alone on the bus with the 3-year old.  The $1.7 million is far more than the $100,000 that Florida state law allows schools to pay-out in civil trials, and so the parents will now seek special approval from the state legislature to collect the amount that they were awarded by the jury. Following the announcement of the award, the mother of the victim remarked, “my daughter finally got justice.”

Next, let’s look at Illinois, where a worker was awarded a hefty amount of money following a life-altering, on-the-job injury. In 2007, the plaintiff was working at his job, employed by a general contractor, when he fell 15 feet from a steel beam directly onto concrete. His attorney argued that his employer did not provide him with proper fall protection gear that might have mitigated the injuries he sustained. As a result of the lack of proper protective gear, the plaintiff’s injuries have left him paralyzed below the chest, with the exception of minimal arm movement. The jury award, that of $64 million, is the highest recorded in the state of Illinois. The attorney for the plaintiff acknowledges that the award is high, but points out that it is representative of the severity of the injuries that his client sustained.

Finally, we will look at a jury award issued in California. The case revolved around an accident that took a woman’s life; the Californian woman, on her way to pick her children up from school, was waiting to make a left turn at an intersection when her car was fatally struck by an SUV. Her husband subsequently sued the state (initiating this case) for negligence in designing the intersection. The widower’s attorney argued that the state of California knew the intersection was dangerous, pointing to the documentation that proved the state had considered adding a designated left-turn lane, though no construction of such a lane ever materialized. The jury, convinced by the argument regarding the state’s negligence and responsibility, awarded the family of the deceased mother $10 million. The husband said, following the award, “justice has been done.”

There’s no document that a judge can sign, or award that a jury foreman can announce, or check that an insurance company can sign, that can bring back the innocence of a little girl, the mobility of a hard-working man or the life of a mother. Nonetheless, these awards discussed above have helped bring closure to the suffering families while giving them some relief from the gut-wrenching pain of having to over-extend themselves in an effort to heal wounds that were inflicted by others.

If you have any questions relating to the above-mentioned personal injury awards, or any other personal injury issues, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation by calling 561-266-9191 or emailing us at daronberg@build.simple.biz.