Low-Speed Crash Yields Disappointing Verdict For Plaintiffs
Atlanta personal injury attorneys would like to discuss a recent jury verdict in a low-speed traffic accident case. The plaintiffs, who are husband and wife, were seeking approximately $1 million in damages. The jury awarded them just over $11,000. It is difficult to say what happened in the case and why the jury decided the way it did. Notwithstanding the uncertainty, many lessons can be learned from the case.
The facts of the case are fairly straightforward. The plaintiffs painted a sympathetic picture for the jury at the start of the trial. The husband and wife were riding in their car in January of 2011. The husband was driving. The couple waited at a stop sign to turn right when the defendant in the case struck them from behind, causing both of them to suffer injuries. The husband was a postal carrier at the time and suffered a back injury that required surgery. His wife experienced a shoulder injury that took 18 months to heal as well.
The jury heard how the husband and wife fell in love later in life. They reacquainted themselves at a high school reunion. They told the jury that from the day of the reunion until the day of the car crash, they were like high school kids again, living lives full of fun and vigor. However, they explained that their lives since the accident were relegated to attending doctors' appointments, surgeries, medications, and chronic pain.
The defense provided a different perspective of the plaintiffs. There was no question that the defendant was at fault for the crash. In fact, he admitted it, but denied the plaintiffs were injured to the extent they claimed. At the outset, the defense claimed that the damage caused to each vehicle in the accident was slight and insignificant. The collision, the defense claimed, was not much more than a "bump."
The defense then attacked the plaintiff's case for damages. The defense pointed out to the jury that the wife did not seek treatment for the shoulder injury until several months after the crash when she suffered a second injury. The defense also attacked the husband's claim that the collision caused his injury as well. The defense argued that being a mail carrier and lugging the heavy mailbag up and down stairs for an entire career took its toll. In the defense's final salvo, it claimed that the plaintiffs were seeking easy money from the "bumper tap." The jury appears to have agreed with the defense when they awarded the plaintiffs just over $11,000 in damages.
Claims involving low property damage can be difficult. However, not every low property damage accident results in an outcome such as the one described above. In fact, the notion that low property damage results in less serious injuries has never been scientifically proven, and every case is different.
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