Favorable Verdict for Defense (brain-injured child)

Steve and Jeri O’Hara won a favorable verdict for the defense in Lake City, Florida, on December 13, 2012, in a case involving a brain-injured child. The child was three years old in the fall of 2008 when she was in a child restraint seat in the rear seat of a small car which was rear-ended by our client’s teenage son who was driving a full-sized pickup truck. The impact appeared to push the rear of the car into the back seat. The child sustained a fracture of her right eye orbit and a shearing injury to the brain which caused a stroke (disruption of a blood vessel) which in turn caused a small permanent hole in her brain from loss of brain tissue cells which died due to loss of blood supply. The child made a good recovery but was left with apparently permanent cognitive deficits and right-sided weakness. At trial, we admitted fault, causation, permanency of injury, and past medical expenses but defended on the basis of the good recovery the child had made. Steve O’Hara handled jury selection and cross examination of the plaintiff’s treating neurosurgeon, treating pediatrician, neuropsychologist, life care planner, and economist. Jeri O’Hara made the opening statement, cross-examined the parents and numerous schoolteachers and therapists, and made the closing argument. We presented no evidence other than a photograph of the child taken from her second grade school file and the plaintiff’s admission that she was getting free therapy services in school. In closing argument, the plaintiff’s attorneys asked the jury to award over $5.6 million in damages. Jeri O’Hara suggested damages numbers which totaled about $165,000. The jury awarded a little over $503,600.

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