Johnston-Forbes v. Matsunaga, an appeal heard before the Supreme Court of Washington, involved a plaintiff ("Plaintiff") who was a professional golfer. Plaintiff played in a golf tournament and was headed back to her hotel room, along with her family. Plaintiff was sitting in the middle of the backseat with her two young children in car seats sitting on either side of her.
The car was stopped at a traffic light when it was rear-ended by a car driven by Defendant. That evening, Plaintiff said she was experiencing pain in her neck and back. Eventually, the pain in her back ceased, but the pain in her neck continued.
Plaintiff had an MRI performed four years after the accident that revealed that she had a herniated disc in her neck. She was never able to return to the LPGA pro golf tour.
At trial, Plaintiff sued Defendant, seeking both general and special damages. Special damages are those for which an exact amount can be established, like medical bills, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. Defendant did not deny liability for hitting Plaintiff but denied that Defendant's negligent driving caused her injuries.
As our Winston-Salem attorneys who represent car accident victims understand, in some cases, a Defendant will admit that they engaged in negligent conduct that caused the accident. When a Defendant submits to the court on the issue of liability, there will be a trial just on the issue of damages. In other words, the defendant admits that the accident was his or her fault but disagrees about the amount of money, if any, that should be awarded to the plaintiff.
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