Lee Stewart obtained a defense verdict for his client in a clear liability accident in which the plaintiff was rear-ended.
Sometime after the accident, the Plaintiff began treating for neck and back pain. Eventually, he underwent several epidural injections in his lumbar spine.
The Plaintiff’s chiropractor was deposed as was an orthopedic surgeon in Birmingham. Both doctors related the Plaintiff’s post-accident complaints and treatment to the incident made the basis of the lawsuit, and the chiropractor testified that the Plaintiff’s injuries were permanent. Other than one visit to his primary care doctor roughly 8 months before the accident, there was no evidence of any pre-accident treatment the Plaintiff had received for either neck or back pain.
The Plaintiff claimed retail medical bills of approximately $26,000, of which Medicare and Tricare paid approximately $7,000. In addition to what Medicare paid, the chiropractic treatment resulted in charges of roughly $7,000 which were not submitted to Medicare. The Plaintiff, a business owner, was also making a lost wage claim of approximately $20,000. The plaintiff filed suit against Mr. Stewart’s client for negligence and wantonness and against Mr. Stewart’s client’s wife for negligent entrustment. The claims against both defendants tried simultaneously. Early on in the case, the Defendants’ liability insurance carrier offered its limits of $25,000, which were “fronted” by the Plaintiff’s underinsured motorist carrier, Alfa.
The Defendant admitted fault for the accident and defended the case on medical causation. The case was tried for two days in the Circuit Court of Shelby County. The wantonness claim against Defendant driver and the negligent entrustment claim against Defendant vehicle owner were both dismissed at the close of the Plaintiff’s case-in-chief. The Plaintiff’s attorney requested a verdict of $100,000 in his closing argument. The jury deliberated for a little over an hour before returning a defense verdict. The Court entered a consistent judgment.