Attorneys Stephen McElroy and Ashley Parris of Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley recently partnered with The Law Offices of Edward Smith to represent a client who was injured in a traffic collision. The 50-year-old plaintiff, along with two of her three young daughters, was stopped at a crosswalk when she was rear-ended by a fatigued driver. Although the collision was minor, the force of the impact pushed the plaintiff’s car into the car ahead of her. The plaintiff sustained a bruise on her spinal cord, developed myelopathy and had to undergo two-level spinal fusion surgery.
“During pre-trial negotiations, the plaintiff offered a high-low agreement of $1,500,000 to $500,000, which would be enough to cover her expenses, lost wages, and suffering,” McElroy says. “Unfortunately, State Farm refused to negotiate unless the plaintiff was willing to accept an offer under $300,000.”
“We were confident that a jury would see why the plaintiff deserved more than what State Farm was offering, so we took the case to trial,” McElroy continues.
A number of expert witnesses took the stand during the two-week trial, including Dr. Benjamin Ewers, a biomechanical engineer who was hired by the defense. Dr. Ewers was called to the stand to testify that the collision was too minor to cause a cervical disc herniation. But, the problem with his testimony was that no one claimed the plaintiff had suffered this injury. Eventually, the testimony was stricken and Dr. Ewers was dismissed from the courtroom.
“Dr. Ewers’ testimony was one of several bizarre obstacles that we had to overcome in this case,” Parris states. “Fortunately, the jury saw past these distractions and awarded the plaintiff $1.34 million for her medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.”