A California Man’s $513,000 Jury Verdict Shows That Sometimes Even Low-Speed Crashes Can Cause Extensive Harm

We all know that speeding has the potential to make bad accidents worse and make serious accidents fatal ones. Statistics from NHTSA back this up. However, you may wonder, “what if my case did not involve a speeding driver? What if I was seriously injured even though the driver who hit me was traveling at a very low speed? Can I still get compensation that will fully cover the extent of my serious harm?” The answer is “Yes, you can.” Start by contacting an experienced Oakland car accident attorney.

In law school, students learn about someone called the “eggshell” plaintiff. Though this may sound like an insult, it really isn’t. It just refers to someone who has a unique potential to be seriously harmed even from a relatively minor accident. That person may be in generally poor health or may have a special medical condition that makes him/her uniquely fragile. The law says that the reason for a person’s peculiar fragility is largely irrelevant. If the person who hit you was at fault, then the law says that he must “take his victim as he finds him,” meaning that he must compensate you for all of the damages that you can prove were caused by the accident.

In a recent Southern California case (Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC688739), W.O. was that sort of eggshell plaintiff. The 61-year-old man was injured at a 4-way stop intersection by a man who was going 8 mph when he ran into W.O.’s front passenger side.

Some people might have suffered only very minor injuries from a crash like this. W.O. offered proof that he was not “some people.” He presented evidence that the crash had aggravated a pre-existing degenerative disc problem in his back. W.O. put on evidence that the accident caused him to need back surgery to address the disc problems.

The at-fault driver’s employer, the County of Los Angeles, tried to argue that the crash caused little to none of W.O.’s medical problems, and that the totality of the man’s damages was less than $15,000. As anyone who’s been a hospital or surgical patient knows, back surgery alone often costs more than $15,000, so the county was essentially arguing that the surgery, and much of W.O.’s other need for treatment, couldn’t reasonably be attributed to that low-speed crash.

The injured man had extensive evidence, though, that said otherwise. His proof included two medical experts. The jury was persuaded by W.O.’s proof, not the county’s arguments. The jury decided that W.O. had suffered $255,000 in medical expense damages, $245,000 in pain and suffering damages, and $13,000 in property damages.

Each auto accident case, and each person injured in an auto accident, is unique. To give yourself the best chance of success, you need an experienced attorney who knows how to take the unique facts of your case and help you get to a positive outcome. Rely on the Law Offices of Stephen M. Fuerch for that kind of legal representation. Attorney Fuerch is an experienced Oakland car accident attorney who has helped many people injured in California to obtain the compensation they deserve. To learn more, contact this office through our website or call (925) 463-2575 to schedule your confidential initial consultation today.