Rick Pinto and Nikki Feliciano recently represented the young driver and father/owner of an automobile in an insurance defense case in the Superior Court of Stanly County, N.C. The trial took place from April 25 to May 1. The case arose out of a car accident that occurred in Stanly County. Plaintiff alleged personal injury damages that included medical expenses for extensive treatment for an alleged brain injury resulting from the accident. Plaintiff claimed to suffer from ongoing headaches, light sensitivity, and cognitive distraction as a result of the accident. She also claimed injury to her neck, back, and right shoulder. In addition to seeking damages for her medical treatment for those injuries, Plaintiff also sought lost wages, pain and suffering, and damages for future medical treatment and lost earning capacity.

The only issue at trial was the amount of Plaintiff’s damages, the defense having stipulated to the negligence of the defendant driver. During the trial, in support of Plaintiff’s alleged damages, Plaintiff had three medical providers testify, a neuro-optometrist, a nurse practitioner, and a physical therapist. These doctors opined that Plaintiff’s injuries were permanent and that Plaintiff could not work at all for over nine months, and would be limited in the future. Plaintiff was a teacher for sight impaired children earning approximately $54,000.00/year. Plaintiff, family members, and friends also testified concerning her activities and cognitive abilities before the accident versus her limitations (both cognitive and physical) after the accident. Plaintiff’s paid medical expenses were $22,500, and her lost wage claim was $54,000. Both of these amounts were contested in part.

Prior to trial, Defendants offered to resolve Plaintiff’s claims for $125,000, and were prepared to pay more. However, Plaintiff refused to discuss settlement below $300,000, the insurance policy limits.  An Offer of Judgment had previously been filed for $65,001. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury awarded Plaintiff $50,000, an amount significantly less than all previous offers, and less than the Offer of Judgment.