Case Type: Personal Injury
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Attorneys: Thomas L. Johnson, Jr. and Christopher Anderson
Plaintiff, Carl Hicks, endured a C6-7 fusion after breaking his neck in a 1975 auto accident. Despite those injuries, Mr. Hicks had little to no problem with his neck in the 40 years since, playing league softball and basketball whenever he desired. That all changed in December 2012 when he was rear-ended by a 50,000 lb. trash truck while sitting at a stop light on his way to work. The impact was minor and caused little to no property damage. Nevertheless, Mr. Hicks could tell something was wrong. He described the muscle sensation in his neck upon impact as “drawing up” comparable to a piece of leather exposed to water.
Because of the minimal degree of property damage sustained in the accident, defendant’s insurance company refused to put any value on the case, making a last minute offer of $30,000 on the day of trial. Attorney Thomas L. Johnson, Jr. alerted the jury to the property damage issue during the selection phase and opening, advising the jury not to be distracted. He explained the law of pre-existing conditions to the jury and advised that the defendant was responsible for Mr. Hicks’ injuries despite the fact that the impact described would not have resulted injury to a person who had not gone through a previous cervical spine fusion.
Attorney Chris Anderson presented expert testimony through Mr. Hicks treating physician of over 15 years, describing Hicks’ current condition and change in life style as a result of the accident. After deliberating for close to four hours, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Mr. Hicks for $450,000.
Source: Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly: http://valawyersweekly.com/2016/08/15/man-with-prior-neck-injury-hurt-during-minimal-rearender-450000-verdict/
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