But they brought the treating chiropractor who gave him a 5% percent permanent impairment rating. I think there is a real argument that a chiro can’t even give this opinion in many states. But he was allowed to in this case. More importantly, the treating orthopedist also testified that the disc injury was related to the motor vehicle crash and that he will need future medical treatment as a result, including lumbar facet injections.
Defense counsel put on an ortho – I’m sure one of the usual suspects in Florida – to opine the lower back injury was not caused by the collision.
The trial lasted two days and the jury took a matter of minutes to decided the case. They awarded:
- $28,354 Personal Injury: Past Medical Cost
- $74,200 Personal Injury: Future Medical Cost
- $20,000 Personal Injury: Past Pain And Suffering
- $20,000 Personal Injury: Future Pain And Suffering
A grand total of $142,554.
Lessons from this Case
The critical lesson from this case is hard numbers. They matter. A lot.
What are hard numbers? Economic loss from the crash as opposed to pure pain and suffering damages. Less than one-third of this award is for pain and suffering. Really? A man needs what appears to be lifelong treatment and they only award $40,000 in pain and suffering. But juries are more quick to give back the hard medical costs. So the lesson for plaintiffs’ counsel is to do whatever you can to try to get the hard economic damages as high as you reasonably can. How do you do that? You do what this lawyer did here: cultivate credible testimony on future medical expenses or other economic losses.
One thing most lawyers are quick to forget in this regard: prescription drug costs. The real cost is much higher than what you are paying your pharmacist when you make your copay.
I hope you got something out of this verdict analysis. This post was originally written in 2014 and update in 2017 to add some more current thoughts on this case and herniated disc cases in general.
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