Plaintiff's Life Passion - Case Summary

Plaintiff's life passion as an artist, not her lost earnings, sells case to jury

The plaintiff, a retired administrative assistant, was behind the wheel of her SUV. She was stopped at a traffic light when she was rear-ended by the driver of a box truck. The plaintiff refused medical treatment at the scene of the collision. She went to her primary care doctor later that day. She was diagnosed with a right wrist sprain, rib contusion and a lower back strain. The plaintiff was seen by a hand specialist at a major hospital who diagnosed her with inflammation of pre-existing arthritis. She participated in physical therapy for two months for the wrist, abdomen and back. Sixteen months after the accident (and over one year after she last received accident-related medical treatment), the plaintiff saw a neurologist. She was diagnosed with lumbar degenerative disc disease. She received one lumbar epidural steroid injection. Twenty-six months after the accident, the plaintiff came under the care of a chiropractor. She treated with him for one month then, she stopped. She resumed chiropractic treatment three and a half years post-accident. At trial, the defendant offered testimony that the plaintiff treated for low back pain four years prior to the accident.

The plaintiff accrued $13,000. in medical expenses. She did not assert a lost earnings claim at trial. Instead, she offered her own testimony and art work to support her claim that she was an accomplished artist, whose life passion was painting. She testified that, prior to the accident, she devoted much of her time and energy to painting, even exhibiting her artwork at local area galleries. After the accident, she has continued to paint, however, her back and hand pain has limited her ability to paint and to fulfill her passion.

Action: Motor vehicle negligence

Injuries alleged: right wrist sprain, rib contusion, lower back strain

Jury and/or judge: Jury

Jury Award: $ 120,000 (with interest and costs, $143,900.)

Last offer before Trial: $15,000