Personal Injury Victim Denied Delay Damages

Posted on: June 26th, 2012       Attorney Thomas Newell

A 2009 decision of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania denied an injured worker’s claim of nearly $85,000.00 in delay damages after an Erie County PA jury verdict.  The victim was working at a construction site when he was injured due to the negligence of employees of another company.  His Pennsylvania personal injury attorney entered into a high/low settlement agreement with the Defendant’s insurance company.

Any jury verdict below the minimum settlement number would be adjusted up to that number.  A verdict rendered above the high number would be reduced to that figure.  The Erie County Court of Common Pleas jury verdict was higher than the agreed upon maximum damage award.  Once the judge molded the verdict, the victim’s trial attorney filed a motion requesting the addition of delay damages.

The Erie County trial judge denied the motion.  The high/low agreement was clear and unambiguous.  The Appeals Court affirmed the lower court decision.  Since the high/low settlement agreement did not discuss delay damages, the contract could not be amended by the court to add additional financial liability on the part of the Defendant’s insurance carrier.  Thompson v. T. J. Whipple Construction Co., 985 A.2d 221 (Pa. Super. 2009)

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