On March 28, 2018, Bailey & Greer partner Thomas Greer obtained a jury verdict for $450,000. The case stemmed from a crash that occurred on Interstate I-40 in Memphis, TN. The driver of an SUV was pulling a flatbed trailer and had recently unloaded a small tractor. The driver neglected to secure or remove the wheel chocks, which are wedges of sturdy material placed closely against the tractor’s tires to prevent accidental movement. One of the wheel chocks flew off the back of the trailer and struck the plaintiff’s windshield, causing her to brake and swerve suddenly. Remarkably the plaintiff was able to maintain control and avoid striking any other cars. The driver of the SUV was employed by Belz Investco GP, which admitted fault for the crash.
More than a year of living in pain
The day of the car crash, the plaintiff was examined by paramedics at the scene, but was not transported to the hospital. The following day she awoke in severe pain in her neck. She went to a minor medical clinic four days after the wreck, where she was diagnosed with a neck strain/sprain. She underwent physical therapy, which helped with her range of motion, but she continued to have pain. About six months after the wreck she saw an orthopedic surgeon. He ordered an MRI, which was interpreted as negative for any findings that would warrant surgery or additional treatment. The orthopedic surgeon discharged the patient with a neck strain/sprain and told her she would get better with time.
The plaintiff did not get better with time. Nine months after being discharged by the first orthopedic surgeon and sixteen months after the crash, the plaintiff sought a second opinion with a different orthopedic surgeon. The plaintiff underwent a second MRI, which was virtually the same as the first one. This second orthopedic surgeon recommended epidural steroid injections and additional physical therapy. All of these procedures and therapies provided some partial, temporary relief, but nothing ever totally relieved the plaintiff’s pain. The second orthopedic doctor testified at trial that her condition had developed into a chronic condition, and was not likely to ever go away.
The fight for justice
At trial, the defendant attempted to minimize the injury. The defense pointed out that the wheel chock was light, allegedly only five pounds, although it was never produced in the case and no testimony was offered to this effect. The defense also claimed that the nine-month gap in treatment meant that the plaintiff was better after being discharged from the first orthopedic doctor, and that any continuing problems were either exaggerated or unrelated to the wreck. Finally, the defense argued that the MRI was negative and that a sprain/strain injury typically resolves after a few months.
After one day of proof, the jury returned a verdict for $450,000. The pre-trial offer from Belz Investo GP was only $25,000.00. At Bailey & Greer, we never accept a lowball offer when we know our clients deserve more.
If you have been injured in a car crash, or sustain injuries related to another driver’s negligence, Bailey & Greer is here to help. To speak with an experienced car wreck attorney in Memphis or Jackson, please call 901-475-7434 or complete our contact form. Let us help you.