North Carolina Appellate Court Approves $3.5 Million Damages Award in Intentional Tort Lawsuit

A personal injury lawsuit can involve more than just an accident where someone acted negligently. If you were the victim of an intentional act of violence like battery or sexual abuse, then you can bring a civil claim against the perpetrator to recover compensation for your injuries and damages. This claim is separate from any criminal charges that are pressed against the person who hurt you. The medical expenses and emotional distress that results from an intentional tort can be devastating. Call a North Carolina personal injury lawyer today to learn more about your potential legal rights.

Recently, the North Carolina Court of Appeals issued an opinion discussing a case where a man died from injuries he sustained after being punched in the head at a bar. The defendant and decedent arranged to meet at the club to discuss an alleged altercation between the defendant’s sister and the decedent. The decedent arrived with two friends and his sister. The defendant punched the decedent soon after and he fell striking his head on the floor. He was taken to a hospital where he was eventually declared brain dead and removed from life support.

The decedent’s brother filed a wrongful death action against the defendant alleging a number of claims. Evidence in the record suggested that the decedent and his mother had a special bond. He lived with his mother and provided her with assistance around the house. Witnesses testified that the mother’s behavior changed after the death and she stopped taking care of her health issues. She suffered a major stroke roughly one year after the death.

Following trial, the plaintiff moved for a directed verdict on the issue of liability. This is a request for the judge to enter a ruling determining that there is no legally sufficient evidence for the jury to reach a different conclusion. The judge granted the motion and the trial turned to an assessment of damages. The jury awarded the plaintiff roughly $3.5 million for the decedent’s death.

The defendant appealed on the basis that the award was excessive and based on prejudice and passion and that the evidence did not support an award that substantial. Specifically, the defendant argued that the lower court erred by allowing the plaintiff’s physician witness to testify as an expert witness. The appellate court rejected this argument first on the basis that the defendant did not preserve this issue for appeal. If a party does not raise an objection at the time that it occurs, he or she waives the right to bring up the alleged error later on in the proceedings. The appellate court rejected the defendant’s additional arguments regarding approval of the expert finding that the defendant had an opportunity to contest the approval of the physician as an expert witness and failed to take it.

If you were injured by someone in an assault, battery, or another event, then you may be entitled to compensation in a civil lawsuit. The experienced North Carolina personal injury lawyers at Maurer Law are prepared to assist you with all aspects of your claim. To schedule a free consultation, contact our office today at 888-258-1087 or contact us online.

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