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Even Soft Tissue Injuries Can Prompt Recovery at Trial (PA)

October 19, 2016

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A Philadelphia jury awarded a plaintiff a <a href="http://blog.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Johnson-v.-Elam.pdf">$40,000 verdict</a> in a motor vehicle accident this past summer.  On October 7, 2013, the plaintiff, Brian Johnson, Jr., was stopped at a red light in West Philadelphia when he was struck from behind by the defendant, Tyra Elam.  The parties stipulated to negligence and the case was tried on causation and damages.
Johnson attended more than a dozen physical therapy sessions for lower back pain he alleged was a result of the accident.  He eventually stopped with physical therapy due to seizures.  He then had an MRI of his back, which showed bulges at various discs.  Johnson also underwent additional tests, which showed injuries to nerves in his spine.  He went to a pain specialist who administered an epidural injection and concluded that Johnson’s injuries were caused by the accident and that he suffered from serious bodily impairment.   Johnson’s physician recommended future medical treatment totaling $10,000 annually with a $50,000 procedure.  The defense presented a radiology expert who testified that Johnson’s bulging discs were degenerative and were not related to the accident.  After deliberation, the jury found that Elam’s negligence was the cause of Johnson’s injury.
This case illustrates that claims from even minor motor vehicle accidents can still result in plaintiff's verdicts.  Here, the injuries, and resulting judgment, were modest.  But we all know that cases like this one can often result in surgery --- and exposure in the six or seven digit realm.  The morale is even small claims don't always remain small forever. Thanks to Peter Cardwell for his contribution to this post.  Please email <a href="mailto:BGibbons@wcmlaw.com">Brian Gibbons</a> with any questions.

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