(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this auto accident case and its proceedings.)
The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position as trial approaches. Reviewing this kind of briefing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.
WAGE LOSS CLAIM
Plaintiff was employed as a sales associate for Macy’s at the time the car accident occurred. She was also a student at Community College.
Plaintiff testified that her income at Macy’s decreased after the accident because she worked fewer hours and could not remain on her feet as long as she used to before the accident. She would have to take breaks because of her back pain.
Plaintiff had started working for Macy’s in 2004. According to a Mortgage Verification Form provided by Macy’s, the plaintiff earned the following during the four years she was employed at Macy’s:
2004 $ 4,117.51
2005 $ 23,221.43
2005 $ 20,557.65
2007 $ 2,707.19
Plaintiff testified that that she does not know how many days she actually may have missed from Macy’s.
Subpoenas of Macy’s records pertaining to the plaintiff have not revealed any specific attendance records.
Plaintiff testified that she stopped working for Macy’s and resigned from her position because she felt she could no longer do the job because of her injuries.
However, in reviewing the Macy’s records, one sees a resignation notice signed January 4, 2006, from the plaintiff. This resignation notice does not mention in any way that she was resigning because of injuries. Instead, she stated she was going back to school full-time.
Defendants contend that plaintiff has not verified or supported her wage loss claim in any way.
Plaintiff confirmed that she took a trip in August 2005 with her mother. This was an approximate 2 week trip to Paris. She was able to do all the activities that her mother wanted her to do such as walking around, sight seeing, and climbing stairs in the Metro. She sought no medical treatment while in Paris.
This very minor low speed tap accident happened either in or near a parking lot at Community College. The extent of the damage to plaintiff’s vehicle was very minor consisting basically of an indentation of part of the defendant vehicle’s license plate frame in her bumper.
The plaintiff’s subsequent medical treatment supports and confirms the nature of this accident. She went to her regular doctor’s office 2 days post accident complaining of minor soft tissue strain. She then sought no treatment whatsoever until approximately 4 months later when she returned to her regular doctor complaining of low back pain. She subsequently told her practitioner that her low back pain went away after the accident and then came back a month later. She then gets some physical therapy and then in October, now nine months post accident, she starts up with a chiropractor for an extremely long and extended length of treatment which does not appear to have anything to do with the subject accident.
Plaintiff’s later exam by Dr. White, an orthopedist, was essentially normal and he suggested she should get off chiropractic.
A Court appointed arbitrator, seeking to be accommodating, awarded Ms. Ellis $7,500.00, which she rejected. That is now the equivalent of a CCP 998 ceiling. [FN1] It is the defense position that a jury from the community will not feel the need to be accommodating and, based upon everyday experience, will understand that this tap could not and did not really cause injury.
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.