William (“Skip”) Crawford and Krista Shevlin recently obtained a favorable damages verdict for the firm’s client following a three-day jury trial in the Superior Court, New Castle County, Delaware. The case involved a negligence claim filed by Plaintiff arising out of a ‘chain-reaction’ rear end automobile accident. Plaintiff was stopped in traffic with a second vehicle stopped behind her (“the middle vehicle”). The firm’s client – an insured driver — was unable to stop his tractor-trailer before striking the middle vehicle, and forcing it into the rear of Plaintiff’s vehicle. Plaintiff was 25 weeks pregnant at the time of the accident. Following depositions, firm’s client conceded responsibility for the accident.
Plaintiff alleged $162,000 in special damages. Her treatment included two surgeries to address a herniated disc at C6-C7. The defense countered the allegations with the testimony from Dr. Scott Rushton, a spinal surgeon, and Dr. Sandra Metzler, Ph.D., a biomechanical engineer. Defense experts conceded the plaintiff sustained a cervical sprain/strain in the accident and causally related approximately $15,000 of medical bills to injuries resultant from the accident. The defense experts also testified the spinal surgeries and extensive treatment were not related to the accident.
Prior to trial, plaintiff filed a Motion in Limine to exclude the testimony from the defense biomechanical expert, Dr. Metzler. The Court held a hearing and denied the Motion in Limine. The Judge advised the parties it was the first time a biomechanical engineer was permitted to testify in the State of Delaware.
Plaintiff’s settlement demand was $400,000. Defendants countered with an Offer of Judgment in the amount of $85,000. The offer was rejected.
Following the three-day trial, the jury returned its verdict and only awarded plaintiff $48,000 in damages.