May 23, 2023. Associate Attorney Doug MacKimm secured a victory for his client in a case that was tried to a jury in the State Court of Gwinnett County this week. Partner Nik Makarenko assisted and sat second chair for the trial. This case was originally tried in February 2020 but ended in a mis-trial. The suit arose out of a motor vehicle accident that occurred on December 14, 2017 on Webb Gin House Ln. in Gwinnett County. The Plaintiffs’ vehicle was at a stop due to traffic when she was rear-ended by the Defendant and pushed into the car in front of her. Both vehicles sustained significant damage. The Defendant was found to be at fault and admitted negligence at trial.
The Plaintiff made no complaint of injury at the scene and no ambulance came to the scene. The Plaintiff contacted “411 Pain” after the accident and was referred to a chiropractor where she made complaints of back and neck pain. She then sought treatment at Ortho Sport and Spine where she underwent MRI scans of her lumbar, cervical and thoracic spine. After the imaging, she received multiple epidural steroid injections and one round of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) procedure. She was released from care and discharged in May 2018. Her medical bills totaled $86,398.84.
At trial, Plaintiff presented Dr. Jeffrey Lee of Ortho Sport & Spine testified that her injuries were causally related to the motor vehicle collision. However, he admitted on cross examination that he only saw the plaintiff personally a limited number of times and admitted he did not review the records or imaging from the chiropractor. He further admitted that the cervical MRI was negative and the lumbar MRI revealed degenerative changes that mostly pre-dated the collision. The Plaintiff also called the treating chiropractor who testified that the injuries were related to the accident and that the additional imaging and orthopedic/pain management treatment was a necessary course of treatment for her injuries. Mr. Makarenko and MR. MacKimm called Dr. Barry Jeffries, a board certified neuroradiologist who also testified that the findings on the Plaintiff’s imaging studies were chronic and degenerative in nature and all findings pre-existed the collision.
During his closing, the plaintiff asked the jury to award the medical bills and pain and suffering for a total award of $500,0000. Mr. MacKimm suggested the plaintiffs should be awarded the chiropractic treatment and imaging and suggested a total award of $13,000-$18,000 but he argued that the pain management and injections were completely unrelated to the collision.
The jury deliberated for approximately an hour before returning a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff in the amount of $20,000 which was less than the last amount offered by the defense pre-trial of $30,000.
The Case is Tracy Burks v. Ruth Koop, State Court of Gwinnett County CAFN 18-C-04653-S1
Read more about Attorney Doug MacKimm here.