Firm Receives Defense Verdict in Admitted Negligence Case

On November 9, 2006, Frank Valderrama of Sanchez Daniels & Hoffman, LLP obtained a “defense verdict” in the jury trial of Pugh v. Gamboa. The case arose out of a rear-end motor vehicle accident had occurred on I-55, in which the defendant rear-ended the Plaintiff’s vehicle and subsequently fled the scene. Plaintiff, age 54, claimed that the accident either caused a new injury to his neck or aggravated a pre-existing condition that necessitated a fusion surgery to his neck. The Plaintiff introduced medical specials in excess of $70,000. The defendant only had a $50,000 insurance policy.

The Plaintiff made a settlement demand for the policy. The defense offered $15,000 and said offer was rejected. At trial, the defendant argued through his medical expert surgeon that Plaintiff only sustained a temporary aggravation of his pre-existing condition and the cervical fusion was necessitated by Plaintiff’s pre-existing degenerative condition. Plaintiff’s treating orthopedic surgeon testified that the accident did cause an aggravation of the pre-existing condition that led to the need for the subsequent surgery.

Plaintiff asked the jury for a verdict in excess of $175,000. After deliberating for approximately one hour, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff but only awarded the Plaintiff his emergency room medical specials of $773.00. The case was tried before Judge James Flannery.

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