Defense Verdict for Lewis and Klein
Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 9:14 PM
At the time of the accident, Plaintiff was operating a Black 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse westbound on US 36 Highway in St. Joseph, Missouri. At the same time and place Defendant was operating a 1999 Mercury Cougar also traveling westbound on 36 Highway which struck the rear of Plaintiff's vehicle.
Defendant testified that before she came upon the accident scene, she changed lanes from the right driving lane to the left driving lane because she saw a police officer's lights activated. She further testified that she saw a truck in the turning lane and a vehicle behind it, which was the plaintiff's vehicle. She testified that the plaintiff did not have a turning signal on to change lanes into the center lane. The traffic light was green as she approached the intersection and Plaintiff's vehicle was at a complete stop in the turning lane. Defendant states that the plaintiff pulled out in front of her while she was traveling approximately forty to forty-five miles an hour. She tried to swerve to the right and could not stop in time. She stated that on the right shoulder there was the police car and a disabled car that had been in the accident with the truck.
Plaintiff testified that the accident occurred as he was entering into the turning lane from the driving lane. He testified that he signaled his intention to merge back into the center lane, successfully entered the center lane and was in the process of moving back into the turning lane, around the stalled truck, when the defendant rear-ended him. When he initially pulled into the center lane from the turning lane he saw a car in the right-hand driving lane that was pretty far behind him. There was enough room for the defendant to have driven through the right driving lane past the police officer and past the plaintiff in the left driving lane. He immediately felt a shock in his right arm at the time of the impact. His neck was later burning, he had shoulder pain and his hand was numb.
Plaintiff alleged that he had an anterior cervical disectomy and fusion at C5-6 and C6-7 with allograft and plate.
Plaintiffs' counsel argued that the plaintiff had past medical expenses of $38,375, lost income of $7,000 and lost future enjoyment of life as he would suffer pain and suffering for the rest of his life. Plaintiff's attorney asked for $200,000 to $250,000 in damages in closing.
The defense argued that the plaintiff had a pre-existing condition including degenerative discs prior to the date of the accident and had a herniated disc prior to the date of the accident.
The jury entered a verdict assessing no fault to Defendant and 100% to the plaintiff.