On July 8, 2008 at about 3:45 p.m., our client was the driver of a 2005 Dodge Ram pickup, driving eastbound in the right lane on E. Main Street – which has two lanes of travel in each direction – in Medford, Oregon. At the same time, the Defendant was driving a 2000 Audi A8 Quattro Sedan northbound on Cottage Street, which intersects with E. Main. At that intersection, Cottage Street is marked with a stop sign. As our client proceeded legally along E. Main toward the intersection with Cottage Street, the Defendant accelerated from the stop sign onto E. Main. Our client hit his brakes and swerved into the left lane to avoid a collision, but the Defendant continued across the intersection, crashing into the passenger-side of the pickup. Our client was thrown side-to-side upon impact.
Though both vehicles were drivable after the crash, the collision was of significant impact. At trial, our client described the accident as follows: “It was like a jolt, I was kind of shocked that it felt that hard.” However, he admitted that he struck nothing inside the cab of the truck. He further stated that the Defendant accelerated onto E. Main, never hitting his brakes. Fortunately, his pickup sits rather high up, so more significant damage to the passenger-side body of the Dodge was avoided. Nonetheless, the truck sustained $2,222.27 in damages. The Defendant’s car, which sits lower to the ground, did not fare as well and sustained an estimated $3,720.88 in damages.
Though our client felt some discomfort in the days after the crash, he did not realize that he was seriously injured. However, his symptoms worsened in the days following the crash. He first sought treatment at his chiropractor just a few days after the crash, on July 14, 2008, for “obvious” neck pain “radiating throughout his cervicothoracic region including into the right shoulder and upper arm,” as well as headaches, all of which he attributed to the motor vehicle accident (MVA). It is notable that he consistently complained of these problems throughout the course of his treatment, leading to the discovery of the severity of his injuries.
Our client ultimately required right shoulder surgery a year after the collision. Prior to that point, he had tried steroid injections, medication, and physical therapy to no avail. Unfortunately, the surgery left him with a significantly restricted range of motion in his right shoulder, as well as pain with use. His neck was also in fairly severe pain, particularly with use. The Defendant’s own Independent Medical Examiner (IME) attributed all of our client’s symptoms to the MVA at issue and discounted any prior degeneration causally.
Because of his injuries, our client, who is self employed in the construction business, was unable to work as he had prior to the accident. He had to reduce the amount of work he did and turned down most jobs he would have otherwise taken – jobs he was once able to do on his own. As a result, he sustained lost earning capacity.
The Defendant admitted liability, causation, and past medical expenses. However, the Defendant denied the remainder of the damages, apart from suggesting a small award of noneconomic damages would be appropriate.
Going into trial, our prayer was for $53,612.78 past medical expenses, $50,000 future medical expenses, $219,698.74 in impaired earning capacity, and $250,000 in noneconomic damages.
In my next post, I’ll give the details of the trial.