Significant Leg Injury, and $32,000,000 Demand
Scott Macdonald and Michele Spencer were successful in obtaining a jury award of $5,300,000 after a $5,000,000 offer and against a $32,000,000 demand to a Los Angeles jury. The verdict was read on March 21, 2019.
The plaintiff was a young lady in her early 30s. She had her left leg pinned in between the rear of her vehicle and another vehicle which collided with hers as she stood on the side of the freeway. The accident occurred on a rainy day on the 60 freeway. Plaintiff and her husband had pulled their vehicle to the right shoulder to exchange information for that accident. Plaintiff exited her vehicle and was standing at the rear of her vehicle on the traffic side when defendants’ truck sideswiped another vehicle causing that that vehicle to veer to the right and pin plaintiff’s leg between it and the rear of plaintiff’s vehicle. The defendant driver was unaware he had been involved in a collision. He continued on his way. The incident was investigated as a hit and run, and the California Highway Patrol determined that no hit and run had occurred.
Plaintiff testified that she never saw a truck and was unaware that there was an allegation of a hit and run until she was told as much a few weeks after the accident. She testified that she learned that the CHP had ruled this out, but was upset nonetheless. The defense admitted liability and causation, and the Court had thrown out punitive damages on a Motion to Strike. The defense moved to exclude evidence of an alleged hit and run, but the Court ruled that said evidence was relevant to plaintiff’s claim of emotional distress. This ruling is currently up on appeal.
Plaintiff’s leg was badly damaged. Doctors were able to save the leg, but plaintiff underwent seven surgeries and procedures to repair the leg, the arteries and to repair the scarring. It was undisputed that plaintiff would require a life time of surgeries to prevent problems with circulation. Plaintiff also had significant scarring and disfigurement for which she was understandably self-conscious.
Plaintiff waived past medical specials. Plaintiff presented a Life Care Plan which they claimed was in excess of $4,000,000 dollars. However, after significant cross-examination at trial, it was admitted that the Life Care Plan was overstated. Plaintiff asked the jury to award $2,500,000 in future medical specials. The defense life care plan was between $675,000 and $750,000. Plaintiff asked for $10,000,000 in past pain and suffering and $20,000,000 in future pain and suffering. The jury awarded $1,300,000 in future medical care and $2,000,000 for each past and future pain and suffering.