(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this automobile accident case and its proceedings.)
The Award of Damages was Not Excessive
Plaintiff’s medical bills totaled $24,194.89. In her motion for a new trial, defendant does not contend those expenses were unreasonably incurred.
Although Dr. W. testified that, in his opinion, there was no reason why plaintiff was unable to work for the time she claimed to have been off work as a result of this accident, plaintiff presented extensive and essentially uncontroverted expert testimony that both explained and justified her absence from work and her future economic and non-economic damages.
Dr. Y., who had evaluated the plaintiff a week prior to the trial, concluded that plaintiff’s condition had deteriorated since her last therapy treatment, that she needed therapy to strengthen her muscle and tissues around her neck, and that she would require careful monitoring and therapy for the remainder of her life. More specifically, she testified that it was reasonably certain that, during the next 3 to 6 months, plaintiff would require three to four osteopathic treatments a month at a cost of $1,920.
Dr. Y. projected that for the following 3 months, plaintiff would require two treatments per month at a monthly cost of $960.00 for a total of $2,880.00. She would also need physical therapy four times per month for 1.5 months, at $120.00 per visit, and then two times per month for a total cost of $3,960.00.
Assuming that the treatments were successful in restoring plaintiff’s strength, she would still require a lifetime of osteopathic treatments and physical therapy costing $57,400.00 for a total future medicals of $61,360.00.
Both Dr. Y. and Dr. X. put permanent work restrictions on plaintiff. Dr. Y. told plaintiff she should avoid excessive bending, she should not lift anything overhead, she should not lift more than 15 lbs, nor should she work more than 20 hours a week, Dr. X. placed similar restrictions on plaintiff’s activities.
Plaintiff was also evaluated by Bill Stevens, a career evaluator expert who has practiced for over 20 years in Sacramento County. Based on extensive testing and research, Mr. Stevens determined that plaintiff needed vocational rehabilitation at a cost of $2,120.00. It was stipulated at trial that plaintiff’s work life was another 18 years, and Mr. Stevens determined conservatively that plaintiff would have earned $33,434.00 per year for the next 18 years if not for the injury, and Stevens consequently projected a future earnings of $601,812.00. Mr. Stevens testified that plaintiff would have been reasonably qualified for two occupations based on plaintiff’s disability, work experience, and education: a teachers aid or social worker. After vocational rehabilitation and 60 days to find employment, he testified that plaintiff would have made $38,250.00 in the first 3 years, and after, $14,414.00 a year over the next 15 years. (See Part 5 of 5.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.