Client's Injuries Proved Related to Accident
Plaintiff is a dairy farmer in a motor vehicle accident case venued in Chippewa County. Plaintiff has initial complaints of facial laceration, possible concussion and other contusions, along with an initial report of low back pain. Treats for contusions, but does not treat again for the back until a year later, in May 2011. Has approximately six subsequent visits that mention low back, including two physical therapy visits. Total meds are $6,800.
Plaintiff’s physical medicine physician testifies that he saw plaintiff two times, beginning 18 months after the accident, but it is reasonable to believe that, if he had no significant priors, the accident caused permanent and chronic mechanical low back pain. Doctor further testifies that approximately $200 is appropriate annually for future medicals.
Defendant’s IME doctor characterizes the injury as a sprain that would have healed in 2 months and plaintiff would have then been returned to his pre-accident state, which included prior back problems. IME doctor admits on cross that no prior records specifically indicate low back pain and admits that Plaintiff continues to report back problems that are legitimate, though unrelated to the accident. Attempting to explain such continuing back problems, the doctor deviates from his report in speculating that something else occurred to trigger degenerative arthritis, though he is unable to say what that might be other than it is not the subject collision.
The jury awarded the past medical expenses along with future medicals of $17,000. The jury also awarded $15,000 for past pain and suffering, and $140,000 for future pain and suffering, a figure that corresponds to the low-end estimate by the IME doctor of his annual income related to such exams.