Orange County Attorney Scott Macdonald’s Successful Car Accident Verdict
In 2015, Scott Macdonald earned a significant victory in an Orange County car accident case. His defense of the driver, who rear-ended a car driven by a 51-year-old school teacher, limited the award to $502,000 when the plaintiff was seeking $3.5 to $5 million.
The accident caused major damage to the rear of the plaintiff’s car, as well as totaling Macdonald’s client’s vehicle. The teacher had a considerable period of disability following the accident, and claimed she could only work at 60% capacity once she had recovered. Her full-time teacher’s salary was roughly $108,000 per year.
Eventually she had cervical fusion surgery, and maintained that she did not fare well. After the surgery, the plaintiff claimed she was totally disabled and unable to work. She asked the court for nearly $1.9 million in combined medical costs, damages and lost earnings, plus between $1.6 million and $3.2 million in future pain and suffering.
Although it was clear the plaintiff sustained some injury from the collision, Macdonald showed the jury there were additional factors to consider. For example, for years prior to the accident, the teacher’s work history had been spotty because of complications from an earlier back injury.
The plaintiff’s team claimed that a failed neck surgery, which had been necessitated by the accident, was to blame for the teacher’s disability. But the jury didn’t agree.
Although the sizable impact to her car could have produced injury and the need for neck surgery, the plaintiff’s earlier back problems were relevant to the case. Macdonald convinced the jury to compensate the teacher with a reasonable award, taking into account her preexisting condition, rather than the extraordinary amount for which she was asking.
A reduced award
The jury granted the teacher close to $502,000, a fraction of her request. It included roughly $289,000 for past medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering, and $106,000 to cover future lost earnings and future pain and suffering.