June 27, 2023. Senior Associate Kevin James won a defense verdict in a case that was tried to a jury in the State Court of Gwinnett County before Judge Erica Dove. The suit arose from a motor vehicle collision that occurred on March 6, 2020. The Defendant was exiting a private drive onto Atlanta Highway and approached the Plaintiff’s vehicle which was stopped at a red light. The Defendant admitted to being distracted counting money from his pizza delivery job and rolled into the rear end of Plaintiff’s vehicle causing minor property damage. The Plaintiff did not report any injuries at the scene.
Plaintiff reported to a chiropractor 5 days after the accident for a regular adjustment, she reported no new complaints or injuries on that visit. 2 days later she reported to an orthopedist with complaints of lumbar pain radiating into her legs. She was diagnosed with herniated discs in her lumbar spine at multiple levels and underwent epidural steroid injections and ultimately a microdiskectomy surgery. Post Surgery she had follow up visits and attended some physical therapy. The medical damages were approximately $42,000.
At trial, Plaintiff presented medical testimony by way of video deposition from Dr. Julian Price. Dr. Price provided an opinion that the Plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the motor vehicle collision. However, on cross examination he admitted he was unaware of any of the plaintiff’s prior treatment and had not reviewed any records or films from prior to the motor vehicle collision.
Defendant provided expert testimony from Dr. Barry Jeffries, a neuroradiologist who opined that the conditions identified on the MRI scans were all chronic and degenerative in nature and that there was no evidence of an acute injury which could be related to the motor vehicle accident. Specifically Dr. Jeffries focused his testimony on the findings from a pre-accident 2016 lumbar MRI which was identical to the post accident MRI and revealed the exact same findings.
In closing the Plaintiff asked the jury to award a verdict in the range of $342,000-$642,000 for past special damages and past and future general damages, including pain and suffering. Mr. James asked the jury award a defense verdict. The jury deliberated for approximately 20 minutes before returning a defense verdict.
The Case is Kristina M. Eiklor vs. Jeffrey H. Long, State Court of Gwinnett County CAFN 20-C-08384-S5.
Read more about Senior Associate Kevin James here.