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$33.1 million verdict awarded to paralyzed victim of 2008 New Year’s Eve South Florida car accident

A 62-year-old former Delray Beach man was awarded $33.1 million late last week after a Broward County jury heard testimony about a 2008 New Year’s Eve Fort Lauderdale car accident that left him a quadriplegic and unable to care for himself, the Sun Sentinel reports.

He currently resides at the Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation in Wachula where he requires extensive lifetime care.

The rear-end collision occurred in the early morning hours on I-95 and the defendant paid a $145 fine for failing to exercise due care. The plaintiff was unrestrained at the time of the accident and the jury found him 5 percent at fault for his injuries. To adjust for this, the award will be reduced to $31.4 million. Whether – or how – the defendant, a Ponte Vedra Beach travel agent, will be able to pay the award, is yet to be determined.

According to the Paralysis Resource Center, 56.4 percent of people living with spinal cord injuries are considered quadriplegic, or, have lost movement and sensation in both arms and legs.

The first-year costs of treating high (C1-C4) or low (C5-C8) quadriplegia ranges from $500,000 to more than $775,500; and between $56,000 and $138,900 for each subsequent year of treatment and care. Depending on the type of injury, the time span from initial hospitalization to transition to lifetime care is about 50 days. Almost 9 out of 10 people discharged from hospitals with a spinal cord injury are then moved to a private home.

For a 50-year-old patient, the estimated lifetime costs of care ranges between $1.1 and $1.9 million per year. It is believed that one in 50 people – about six million – are living with paralysis. In about 25 percent of cases, the cause of the spinal cord injury is due to a car accident. Stroke is the most common cause of paralysis, followed by spinal cord injury and Multiple Sclerosis.

The South Florida personal injury attorneys at Freeman & Mallard have been successfully and aggressively representing accident victims and their families in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Ft. Pierce /Port St. Lucie for years. Call us today to schedule a no-obligation appointment to discuss your case at 1-800-529-2368.

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