Scott Macdonald Wins Second 2015 Car Accident Defense Verdict
On February 25, 2015, Scott Macdonald secured his second defense verdict of the year, in the Los Angeles Superior Court, Torrance Courthouse. In the low-speed, car versus car accident case, the jury voted 12 – 0 against the plaintiff after just 50 minutes of deliberation.
The plaintiff claimed that as a result of the accident, he required lumbar fusion surgery. Macdonald proved to the jury that although his client admitted fault for the collision, her negligence was not a substantial factor in causing the injuries being claimed.
In the May 2010 accident, the defendant and plaintiff stopped for stop signs at a controlled intersection in Malibu. The defendant attempted a left tum and was temporarily blinded by the sun. She cut the comer too sharply and collided head-on with the plaintiffs vehicle. Neither car sustained much damage, and the defendant admitted fault for the accident.
The plaintiff had a long history of back complaints, including discectomies in 2001 and 2003. However, he denied having any significant back pain from 2004 to the time of the 2010 accident.
Instead, the driver claimed he was an eggshell plaintiff, more susceptible to injury than an average individual would be. He maintained that while the accident was minor, he experienced a significant worsening of his condition. After more than a year of physical therapy and multiple epidural steroid injections, the plaintiff finally had lumbar fusion surgery in 2013.
Building a Solid Case
Through use of medical records and expert witness testimony, Macdonald showed that the plaintiff already had significant back pain: following a 2003 surgery, leading up to 2009 and into 2010. Also, because the plaintiff did not seek treatment for seven weeks following the accident, Macdonald was able to establish that there had been no immediate change in symptoms.
Expert witnesses stated the accident was not forceful enough to cause a structural change to the plaintiffs lumbar spine. Their opinion: the plaintiffs surgery was not a result of the accident, but because of a continuing and worsening degenerative condition.
After the unanimous verdict, jurors commented that the evidence illustrated that the plaintiff had not been injured in the accident, or he would have sought immediate treatment. The jury was convinced the accident did not create the need for surgery.