Jeff Humphries obtained an exceptional verdict for an insurance company in Jacksonville, Florida, on December 14, 2012. The Plaintiff was involved in a very minor motor vehicle accident in March 2006. The person who caused the accident had no insurance. The Plaintiff sued her own insurance carrier for uninsured motorist benefits, claiming that the 2006 accident caused the need for a two level cervical fusion surgery. The case was further complicated by the fact that Plaintiff had another very minor accident in December 2007 and she claimed that accident also led to her neck surgery. The Plaintiff originally had two separate lawsuits pending for each accident. During a deposition for the lawsuit involving the 2007 accident, the Plaintiff admitted that she was involved in a 2006 accident; however, she claimed that by the end of 2006, and throughout 2007, all of her injuries from the 2006 accident had resolved. Two days later, in a deposition for the lawsuit involving the 2006 accident, the Plaintiff contradicted herself and testified that her neck pain never resolved after the 2006 accident and that the December 2007 accident aggravated her already injured neck. At trial, the two lawsuits were consolidated and the jury heard her contradictory statements given two days apart.
The Plaintiff argued to the jury that the injuries from each accident were incapable of being separated and asked the jury to award damages from both accidents. The jury ultimately found that the injuries sustained by the Plaintiff were apportionable. The total damages awarded by the jury were $200 (yes, that’s two hundred) from the 2006 accident, and about $1,300 for the second accident for past medical expenses only. The jury did not find that either accident caused a permanent injury and the jury did not award any damages for future medical care related to the accident. The Plaintiff had asked the jury to award over $800,000 in total damages.