David Wilson spoke at the 2022 DRI Trucking Law Seminar titled “The Future of Trucking…
Amanda Graham obtained a defense verdict in a clear liability car accident case with disputed causation of injuries.
The case arose out of a two-vehicle accident that occurred on January 4, 2018 in Shelby County, Alabama on Pelham Parkway at the intersection of CSX Railroad and Stonehaven Trail. The defendant testified that he “quickly glanced” away from the road to change a song on his cell phone, and when he looked up, traffic was stopped and he hit the rear of the plaintiff’s vehicle. The plaintiff, while stopped at a red light, testified that he saw the defendant in his rear-view mirror and the defendant never “looked up” or slowed before making impact. The plaintiff testified the defendant was going at least 45 MPH. Additionally, the defendant told the officer that the accident occurred because he had something in his eye and was looking in his rearview mirror. The defendant testified that he lied to the officer because he did not want to get a ticket.
During trial the defendant admitted that the accident was his fault. The case was tried on arguments of causation of injury. After the accident, the plaintiff waited 34 days to go to the doctor, where he complained of worsening pain in his left shoulder, as well as general back and hip pain. He was referred to treat with Dr. Jerome Ambrosia and was eventually diagnosed with a SLAP tear, and a surgery was performed. Dr. Ambrosia testified that the surgery was a success, and the plaintiff had not returned for treatment in a few years. However, the plaintiff testified during trial that he continued to have issues with his left shoulder.
Although the plaintiff was only claiming the SLAP tear as a result of this accident, his past medical history was extensive and included two prior back surgeries, a neck surgery, and a left shoulder surgery. Additionally, the plaintiff was actively treating with pain management in the months leading up to this accident with pain complaints in all areas of his body.
Despite Dr. Ambrosia testifying that the accident was the likely cause of the SLAP tear, there were some holes in his testimony regarding degenerative versus acute findings, as well as his questionable personal knowledge of the specifics of the accident and the plaintiff’s prior medical history.
Defense counsel argued that despite the clear liability nature of the accident, the plaintiff had not met his burden of proving that this accident was the likely cause of the SLAP tear, given the delay in obtaining treatment and the physical condition of the plaintiff in the months leading up to this accident.
Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award $500,000 representing compensatory and punitive damages. The jury deliberated for less than an hour before returning a verdict in favor of the defendant.