Auto Accident Defense Verdict

Orlando Partners Mike Merrill and Scott Shelton recently obtained a complete Defense verdict in Orange County for a rear-end automobile accident. The Plaintiff asserted she was stopped at a red light when the Defendant’s vehicle struck the back of her vehicle at 45 mph, although the damage to her vehicle was minimal. The Defendants admitted liability for the accident but disputed the severity of the automobile accident and denied the Plaintiff sustained injuries. The Plaintiff underwent medical treatment four days after the accident, with gaps in care, and eventually underwent low back surgery. The Defendants were able to reduce the Plaintiff’s boardable medical expenses in advance of trial due to billing through Medicare and the Plaintiff boarded $50,000 in past medical expenses. During closing arguments, the Plaintiff requested approximately $900,000 in damages. The Defense focused on the Plaintiff’s inaccurate statements concerning the accident details and the evidence of minimal property damage. They also cross-examined the Plaintiff on her prior complaints similar to her alleged injuries in this case, as well as cross-examined her treating doctors on their lack of knowledge of the Plaintiff’s prior medical treatment and injuries. The Plaintiff’s surgeon also conceded on cross-examination his surgery was for the Plaintiff’s low back degeneration, but asserted on redirect examination he still felt the Plaintiff suffered an aggravation.

The Plaintiff focused her efforts on asserting the accident aggravated her pre-existing conditions. After deliberating for approximately two hours, the jury returned a complete Defense verdict finding the Defendant’s negligence for the accident was not the legal cause of Plaintiff’s injuries. Upon notice of the Plaintiff’s low back surgery, the Defendant’s carrier had tendered their policy limits but the Plaintiff refused to accept them, insisting on payment of excess funds. The Defendants served a Proposal for Settlement early in the case, as well as another Proposal for Settlement for the policy limits several months before trial, both of which will be enforceable and pursued.

Michael Merrill
(321) 972-0022

Scott Shelton
(321) 972-0011

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