Joyce Walters has been awarded more than $150,000 for damage to her vocal cords that she claimed occurred after struggling to make herself heard over outside noise that affected her classroom. The classroom was located adjacent to a roofed courtyard where students congregated at lunch time and during breaks.
Mrs. Walters had to frequently repeat herself and raise her voice so her pupils could hear her. When she developed a sore throat that continued to worsen she visited her doctor and was diagnosed as having non-cancerous nodules on her vocal cords. She was forced to give up her job and still had difficulty speaking for an extended period without suffering from a scratchy sore throat and hoarse voice.
The courts have recognized Mrs. Walters claim and have awarded her a lump sum to cover the damages she obtained on the job. Whether this falls under workers compensation or personal injury, what remains is that a woman who adored her job is no longer able to work in that capacity, and the money may be nice to make up for lost income, but it doesn’t give her back a meaningful part of her life, or allow her to live out her life without pain.
Settlements and awards in these sorts of cases always seem to be large sums, but when balanced out against the loss experienced by the victims it is really nothing more than a just amount.