Updated:VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. —
A jury awarded woman who was run over by a Beach Patrol truck more than $2 million for the accident that left half of her face paralyzed.
Erin Joynt, 36, said she suffered life-long injuries when she was hit while sunbathing in Daytona Beach Shores nearly three years ago.
Late Thursday afternoon, following more than three hours of deliberation, a Volusia County jury recommended awarding Joynt $2.6 million in damages, including $2 million for pain and suffering.
State law says a payout the size of the one recommended in Joynt's case has to be approved by the Florida Legislature.
Joynt was run over while sunbathing in 2011. Her children and husband were nearby when the accident happened.
"(We're) very happy for the verdict. We thank the jury for their service," said John Phillips, who represented Joynt in the suit.
Phillips said there's still work to do.
A Florida statute protects the state, its agencies and
subdivisions from liability of a claim exceeding $200,000. The law spells out the next step for a claim or judgment exceeding that amount. That involves reporting the ruling to the Legislature.
That means the decision on payout will be made in Tallahassee.
"I think some of the evidence wasn't there to support that level of a verdict but how do you decide what to pay someone for pain and suffering?" said Volusia County Attorney Nancy Jones.
In court, Jones pointed out that Joynt had pre-existing medical conditions.
The accident paralyzed the left side of Joynt's face. She said she also suffers from hearing loss, loss of vision and aches and pains that have changed her lifestyle.
“We are still an active family, but Chris (Joynt’s husband) takes on the majority of the running around,” Joynt said. “It wears me out more now
The law says $200,000 is the maximum amount per claim, and it includes all money paid related to the incident. Joynt's family members were already paid out by Volusia County earlier this year. That settlement included $134,000 for her husband and $15,000 each for her two children.