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Florida Fifth DCA affirms jury award in motor vehicle negligence case as to future medical expenses, but reverses award of loss of earning capacity as speculative

On December 22, 2017, in Vickers v. Thomas, No. 5D15-3610, the Florida Fifth DCA affirmed a jury award in motor vehicle negligence case regarding the jury’s determination of future medical expenses,but reversed the award of loss of earning capacity as speculative. The defendant had argued on appeal that the award of future medical expenses, which included the anticipated costs of cervical and lumbar surgery, was too speculative in nature. The Fifth DCA concluded that that the costs were not erroneous because they were within the range testified to by expert medical witnesses. However, the Court concluded that the loss of earning capacity claim, which was premised solely on the plaintiff’s subjective fear of losing her job rather than any diminished capacity to perform the job, was too speculative to serve as a proper basis for damages. The Fifth DCA reversed the jury award for future loss of earning capacity and remanded the case to the trial court either to enter a remittitur under section 768.043(2), Florida Statutes, or to grant a new trial solely on the issue of damages for loss of earning capacity. See Rasinski v. McCoy, 227 So. 3d 201, 203 (Fla. 5th DCA 2017), citing Truelove v. Blount, 954 So. 2d 1284, 1289–90 (Fla. 2d DCA 2007)).

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