$11M Car Accident Verdict Against Papa John’s

Jurors awarded an eight-figure verdict against Papa John’s pizza chain in a car accident injury lawsuit in which the victim suffered traumatic brain injury.gavel21

What’s interesting about this case is that the $11 million judgment was handed down despite the fact evidence showed only $225,000 in past medical expenses. So how was this possible? Plaintiff attorneys relied heavily on expert witness testimony from a neurologist who opined about the devastating effect of the traumatic brain injury on the victim’s quality of life and future prognosis.

According to Courtroom View Network (CVN), a delivery driver for the pizza chain caused the wreck on rainy evening that caused plaintiff to suffer brain damage that resulted in her being frequently confused and prone to serious memory loss, depression, anxiety and other health ailments.

As our Greensboro car accident lawyers know, the damage portion of any injury lawsuit is as critical as establishing negligence. That’s because not only do you have to show the defendant was responsible for what happened, you have to prove the injuries were substantial enough to warrant a hefty amount of compensation.

In order to do that, jurors are going to want to know the full extent of someone’s injuries, what it has robbed them of and how it has otherwise affected their life. Showing how rich one’s life was before and how devoid it has been since is important. That can be done with anecdotal evidence. However, jurors also want compelling, concrete scientific evidence that the damage is as severe as the plaintiff asserts.

In this case, the neurologist meticulously detailed for jurors the conclusions she reached in meeting with the plaintiff for 25 different appointments and numerous rounds of testing. Legal analysts weighing in on the case noted it was not just the detailed testimony of this particular expert but the way in which she broke down complex medical terminology and processes into easy-to-understand, everyday comparisons. She also addressed the challenges that plaintiff’s attorneys faced, and unpacked the other side’s arguments one-by-one.

For example, an emergency room scan taken the same day as the accident didn’t note any immediate brain damage. The neurologist explained that’s because it was like a Polaroid picture – “not very clear.” Those kinds of scans are only used to find injuries that require the most immediate care. However, an MRI scan taken later showed there had been brain damage and this, the neurologist explained, was like a 35mm digital camera image, where the details are more easily shown.

She also explained that while the plaintiff was diagnosed with a “mild traumatic brain injury,” the term is somewhat of a misleading one because the effect it can have on a person’s life is not mild by any means.

The defense was at a disadvantage here because they offered no expert medical testimony of their own to counter this neurologist’s findings. Defense reportedly had retained a single expert – a neuropsychologist – who reviewed plaintiff’s medical records. Ultimately, however, defense lawyers declined to call him as a witness after it was revealed that not only had he not examined the plaintiff, he’d only viewed a fraction of her medical records. Plaintiff attorney opined that had defense called him to testify as a witness, the damage award, “Would have been twice as high.”

Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

Who Served Up the Key to an $11M TBI Verdict Against Papa John’s? June 3, 2016, By Arlin Crisco, CVN

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Carolina Bicycle Accidents and Fatalities Spike in Summer, June 29, 2016, Greensboro Car Accident Lawyer Blog

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