Boyd & Jenerette Partner Tom Berger successfully defended a UM carrier at trial in August 2021. Plaintiff was driving a company pickup truck in Ft. Lauderdale. Earlier in the day, he had gotten a flat tire and used fix-a-flat to allow him to continue. As he was driving, it began to rain very hard. He claimed that a phantom vehicle pulled in front of him; he slammed on the brakes, hydroplaned, and hit a palm tree. The Plaintiff underwent a cervical surgery and incurred medical bills of $288,418.34.
The arguments in the trial concerned liability, causation, and permanency. There were substantial gaps in treatment and a prior accident. The CME testified that Plaintiff sustained a strain to the cervical spine, and while it did aggravate his prior condition, it did not lead to the surgery. Because Plaintiff had the prior condition, he did expect the treatment would be a little more extensive than typical and he opined that $72,308.16 was reasonable.
The Plaintiff claimed that from the date of the accident, he could not work. He was earning approximately $30,000 a year before the accident. The Plaintiff asked for 6 years of past wages and 10 years of future wages. The plaintiff asked for $120,000 in past pain and suffering and approximately $200,000 in future pain and suffering.
The jury awarded: Past Medicals - $72,308.16; Future Medicals – 0; Lost Wages - $60,000. It also found no permanent injury. The jury further found that the phantom driver was 25% at fault and the Plaintiff was 75% at fault. As a result, the net verdict was approximately $30,000. Notably, the UM carrier filed a favorable PFS and is entitled to attorney’s fees and costs, which will result in a judgment in favor of the carrier.
If you have any questions about this case or would like to refer a litigation matter, please contact our attorneys.