On February 13, 2010, Fabio Noguera was driving southbound in his Ford Escort in the right lane of I-95 approaching the Gateway Boulevard exit in Boynton Beach. A tractor-trailer truck veered into him and struck the left rear of his car. The driver's side of Noguera's car spun in front of the truck, and the car was pushed forward until the truck stopped.
At the time of the accident Noguera was suffering from pre-existing injuries. Specifically, Noguera had suffered for more than 30 years from chronic rheumatoid arthritis. His hips and knees had been replaced, but Noguera claimed he was able to function at a high level.
In this accident Noguera injured his neck and lower back.
However, the accident aggrevated Noguera's condition. The neck and back injuries prevented Noguera from maintaining his exercise regimen, and that aggravated his rheumatoid arthritis.
The law in Florida holds the person that causes an accident is responsible for aggrevation of a pre-existing condition.
The Standard Jury Instruction States:
If you find that__________ caused a bodily injury, and that the injury resulted in an aggravation of an existing disease or physical defect or activation of a latent disease or physical defect, you should attempt to decide what portion of __________condition resulted from the aggravation or activation. If you can make that determination, then you should award only those damages resulting from the aggravation or activation. However, if you cannot make that determination, or if it cannot be said that the condition would have existed apart from the injury, then you should award damages for the entire condition suffered by__________.
The jury awarded $2.15 million for past and future medical expenses, $116,227 for past and future lost wages and $12 million for past and future pain and suffering. However, the jury found Noguera 50 percent liable for the accident, which cut the award in half.