Motor Vehicle Accident Leads to Causation Dispute

(courtesy of the Georgia Trial Reporter)

Case Caption: Vincent Page v. Eric Gunn
Case Number:  08A94935
Court:  DeKalb County State Court
Verdict:  $205,000
Judge: Johnny N. Panos
Date of Verdict: 10/29/2009
Attorneys:
Plaintiff
:   J. Matthew Dwyer Jr., Atlanta
Defendant:   Derek A. Mendicino, Conyers

Facts:
A rear-end accident in a residential area of Roswell allegedly caused significant injuries to plaintiff driver. Defendant admitted liability, but disputed plaintiff’s injury claim. The jury returned a $205,000 verdict for the plaintiff.

Plaintiff Vincent Page was driving his vehicle on Crab Apple Road in Roswell. He came to a stop for traffic and was rear-ended by Defendant Eric Gunn. Defendant admitted negligence, but argued that plaintiff was not injured.

Plaintiff alleged he sustained herniated discs in his neck and back which limited his ability to return to work. He claimed permanent residuals and impairments. Plaintiff argued that the impact was sufficient to have caused his permanent complaints. He sought economic and non-economic damages.

Defendant contended that plaintiff did not sustain disc herniations. Defendant argued that any injuries plaintiff sustained preexisted this accident and/or that plaintiff should have recovered from any injuries sustained in this accident. Defendant also noted that
plaintiff had no treatment for one year following his initial diagnosis and treatment. Lastly, defendant argued that plaintiff had no lost wages attributable to this accident.

Plaintiff Profile: Plaintiff was a 28 year old single male who was a laborer who performed flooring repair work.

Alleged Injury: A herniated cervical disc and two lumbar disc herniations which required physical therapy and chiropractic treatment.  Plaintiff claimed permanent residuals and impairment, which limited his ability to return to work. Plaintiff and two of his treating physicians testified that plaintiff would require a sedentary job, if he could work at all. Plaintiff had not worked for two years prior to the trial. He sought $40,000 in past medicals (diagnostic testing primarily), and approximately $60,000 in past lost wages. Plaintiff also claimed significant future wage loss of $800,000 to $900,000.

Jury Deliberations: 4 hours

Settlement Efforts: Last Demand: Less than $300,000 (per plaintiff’s counsel); $500,000 at trial (per defense counsel); Last Offer: $150,000 (per plaintiff’s counsel); $175,000 (per defense counsel)

Insurance Carrier: Westfield

Expert(s):
  Plaintiff:  Mary Taylor, M.D., Neurologist – Stockbridge, GA
  Defendant: Mark I. Harris, M.D., Neurologist – Atlanta, GA

Editor’s Notes: Per plaintiff’s attorney, plaintiff slashed his girlfriend’s tire, was arrested for aggravated stalking and was jailed for two weeks, all of which impacted the jury’s verdict. There was no appeal and this case is closed.
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