I recently had a discussion with a potential new client. Seems he had been on a jury in Fairfax County Circuit Court several months ago and the case was a personal injury/car crash case. The impact of the collission was minimal. The property damage was minor. The plaintiff (injured person suing) was claiming $22,000 in medical expenses, including a series of painful steroid injections.
The lawyer for the defendant had been hired by the insurance company. They called to testify an "independant" medical examiner who testified that the claimant had "no objective signs of any injury that could cause pain."
Based on that an on the pictures that showed "nothing but scratches" on the car's bumper, the jury awarded just $2,500.
Now the former juror was in my office. Turns out that a month after the case he was in his own accident. 'Seemed like just a bump' at the time. There was virtually nothing you could see on on his bumper. He hadn't even gone to the emergency department because he "didn't feel like he was hurt."
Unfortunately, his pain had gotten worse the next day. Now he too had been on a course of injections and physical therapy. One of his doctors (a well-respected neurosurgeon in Northern Virginia) was recommending surgery if he didn't improve over the next month or so.
He wanted to know if he had a case. He now "understood" what the lady in his trial had gone through.
I told him it would be a very tough case. The insurance lawyer would blow up the pictures of the car and say "look here, no damage."
They would hire a local doctor to "examine" my new client and review his medical records and say "I can't see anything that could cause pain" and "if you need surgery its from your preexisting degenerative changes."
These cases are tough
We often wonder what would a juror think if they had gone through the same things our clients did.
Now we are going to find out.