Macdonald & Cody Obtain Favorable Verdict for a Fraction of Plaintiff’s Workers Compensation Lien
In November 2022, Scott Macdonald and Elizabeth Tingen obtained a favorable award in downtown Los Angeles in a 2-vehicle intersectional collision case. The subject accident occurred on West Third Street in Los Angeles. Defendant was attempting to turn left onto West Third Street from Laurel, and a vehicle in the number 2 0f 2 westbound lanes had stopped to wave him through. Defendant proceeded to make his left turn by pulling in front of the stopped vehicle, stopped again and looked for traffic in the number 1 lane. Not seeing any oncoming traffic, Defendant continued his left turn, however Plaintiff was approaching at 30-40 miles per hour and collided with the front left of Defendant’s vehicle. Plaintiff was in the course and scope of his employment as a field service technician at the time. Plaintiff told Defendant at the scene that he was okay, and took pictures of his face and of an abrasion on his left shin. Only when the ambulance arrived did Plaintiff start claiming he needed medical attention. He was taken to the emergency room by ambulance.
Plaintiff claimed a bone bruise in his dominant left hand, torn meniscus in the right knee as well as injuries to his left knee, and severe aggravation of pre-existing PTSD from his years in the military. Plaintiff claimed his PTSD prevented him from being able to drive and therefore, he was unable to work in his pre-accident job as a field service technician.
At trial, Defendant was able to present to the jury evidence of Plaintiff’s 4 prior workers compensation claims arising from prior car accidents and slips and falls, which involved bilateral knee injuries and PTSD. Treating physician testimony revealed Plaintiff had no complaints related to PTSD symptoms associated with driving until 3 months after the accident, right around the time when his physical symptoms had improved. Defendant was also able to present sub rosa footage of Plaintiff driving on the freeway while running errands throughout the day, which Plaintiff claimed at trial he could not do, and of Plaintiff lifting a child up onto his shoulders, despite his claimed wrist pain.
Plaintiff asked the jury to award $150,627 in past medical expenses for physical therapy, right knee surgery, and over 2 years of consistent psychotherapy sessions, for $140,325 for continued psychotherapy, physical therapy and treatment of the left wrist and both knees. Plaintiff asked the jury to award over $1.5 million in past and future loss of earnings. Plaintiff’s total ask of the jury was $5,071,002. Defendant asked the jury to award past medical specials for some physical therapy and psychotherapy as well as 6 months of past earnings.
At a mandatory settlement conference one month prior to trial, the mediators made an unsolicited mediators’ proposal for $750,000. Plaintiff never made a demand under $1 million. Defendant had done a valid 998 for $250,000 and another valid 998 for $350,000 before trial and tried twice during the trial to settle.
After about two hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict for $39,709 in past meds, $0 for future meds, $39,000 in past loss of earning, and $0 in future loss of earnings. They awarded $25,000 for past pain and suffering and $0 for future pain and suffering, for a total verdict of $103,709. The jury also found Plaintiff 40% at fault for the collision, resulting in $62,225.40 in total damages awarded to Plaintiff.