Pinney v. Carrera
Pinney v. Carrera, 2020 UT 43 (Durrant, C.J.)
A driver hit the plaintiff’s car. The plaintiff sued the driver. At trial, the plaintiff’s chiropractor testified that she had a herniated disc, a permanent back injury, and that treatment failed to get her range of motion to 100 percent. The jury awarded the plaintiff $300,000 in general damages. Post-trial, the driver moved for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, arguing that the general damages award was too high and the plaintiff failed to meet the requirements of the PIP threshold statute, Utah Code § 31A-22-309. The district court denied the motion. The court of appeals affirmed. The Utah Supreme Court affirmed, holding:
- To recover general damages arising from a car accident, the PIP threshold statute requires that a person sustain “permanent disability or permanent impairment based upon objective findings.” Utah Code 31A-22-309(1)(a). “Objective findings” means findings regarding a permanent disability or impairment to be based on externally verifiable phenomena rather than on an individual’s subjective perceptions or feelings regarding the injury
- The general damages award was not excessive. The court will not overturn a general damages award on the ground that the plaintiff presented no evidence of economic harm.