U.S. Sen. Rand Paul was awarded more than $580,000 in damages and medical expenses on Wednesday in his lawsuit against the neighbor who tackled him and broke several of his ribs in a dispute over lawn maintenance.
A jury in Bowling Green, Kentucky, deliberated less than two hours before delivering the award to the Republican lawmaker.
Paul had testified during the three-day trial that he feared for his life as he struggled to breathe after his neighbor slammed into him in their upscale Bowling Green neighborhood in late 2017.
The jury awarded $375,000 in punitive damages and $200,000 for pain and suffering, plus $7,834 for medical expenses.
The neighbor’s attorney said they would appeal.
In his lawsuit, Paul sought up to $500,000 in compensatory damages and up to $1 million in punitive damages.
The neighbor has already served a 30-day prison sentence after pleading guilty to assaulting a member of Congress. Federal prosecutors have appealed, saying 21 months would have been appropriate. The neighbor also paid a $10,000 fine and served 100 hours of community service in the criminal case.
The attack in Paul’s yard was motivated by lawn care, not politics.
The neighbor told the jury that he attacked Paul after watching the senator begin forming a brush pile near their property line.
The day before the attack, the neighbor said, he had burned another brush pile that Paul had created near the boundary. He doused that pile with gasoline and set it on fire, the neighbor said. An explosion burned his face, neck and arms, and he said he was still in severe pain when he attacked Paul the next day. The neighbor testified he had hauled away previous brush piles accumulated by Paul without asking the senator.
The neighbor testified that he tried to talk to Paul about his lawn maintenance concerns, but was rebuffed. Paul maintained in his testimony that he kept any brush pile on his own property.
A successful personal injury claim may allow injury victims to recover financial compensation for the following expenses and damages:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Future medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Property damage
- Emotional injury
- Economic and noneconomic damages
- Harm to one’s reputation
In some cases, punitive damages will be awarded as well. Punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer for their reckless and careless behavior, and deter future negligent or intentional illegal actions.
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