According to Syracuse.com, two women who lived close to the East Village blast site are filing lawsuits for suffering injuries and “severe” emotional trauma resulting from the explosion. The suit is being filed against ConEd, 121 Second Avenue landlord Maria Hrynenko, a contractor named Dilber Kukic, and Hyenol Kim, the owner of Sushi Park.
Lucie Bauermeister, 23, and Anna Ramotowska, 26, allege in their suit that the blast which occurred next door to their apartment—129 Second Avenue—caused them significant injuries, as well as serious emotional and psychological harm; both women have stated that they will seek counseling to get over the experience. Despite the pair’s injury claim, it appears that any injuries suffered were minor. Ramotowska claimed she suffered “Like five or six scratches…it’s nothing deep.” Despite the lack of serious injury, their attorney, Robert Vilensky, claims that their lawsuit is valid as they’ll fear experiencing a similar event the rest of their lives. Several media outlets have claimed Bauermeister and Ramotowska are seeking upwards of $40 million in their suit.
It should be noted, that despite the claim from some media outlets that the roommates are seeking $40 million, this is not technically true. Compensation in a lawsuit isn’t determined based on what the victim(s) asks for. The amount of monetary damages is typically determined by either a jury at trial or in a settlement between the plaintiff and defendant. Additionally, compensation is usually calculated by the jury based on the combined economic value of the victim’s injury and emotional trauma. In a lawsuit, such as the one filed by Bauermeister and Ramotowska, where the victims suffered no major injury or personal loss, it is unlikely that any verdict or settlement would return anywhere near the $40 million figure that has been put out there by the media. In fact, if the case were to settle or reach a verdict, it’s unlikely that the compensation would even reach six figures.
Due to the complexities of personal injury law, it’s understandable how many would confuse how compensation and lawsuits in general work. Injuries and emotional trauma do not, in and of themselves, guarantee a victim compensation. In order to have a valid case, victims must first be able to show that one party’s negligence directly caused their injury or emotional trauma. After establishing negligence, compensation is then determined by calculating the economic value of the victim’s injury and emotional trauma.