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$________ Insurance Obligation – Underinsured motorist claim – Failure to stop for stop sign – Herniated cervical and lumbar discs to plaintiff passenger – Head laceration – Claimed traumatic brain injury – Damages/causation only.

Hillsborough County, FL

The plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle which was struck in the side after the tortfeasor failed to stop for a stop sign. The plaintiff settled his claim with the tortfeasor for $________ of an underlying $________ liability policy limit. The case continued against the defendant State Farm Automobile Insurance Company as the plaintiff’s underinsured motorist carrier. The defendant stipulated that the tortfeasor negligently caused the collision. Thus, the case proceeded on the issues of damages and causation only.

The plaintiff was a man in his mid-20s who was in route to a job site in connection with his employment with a moving company at the time of the collision. The plaintiff claimed that the impact caused a head laceration with traumatic brain injury involving cognitive and memory deficits. He also alleged disc herniations at the C4-C5, C6-C7 and L5-S1 levels of his spine. He was treated conservatively without surgery.

The plaintiff did not return to his prior employment following the accident. His vocational rehabilitation expert testified that the plaintiff’s limited job skills, limited education and accident-related injuries precluded him from the job field. The plaintiff’s economist estimated the plaintiff’s loss of future earnings to be from $________ to $________.

The defendant’s radiologist testified that he reviewed the plaintiff’s MRI films and concluded that they showed minimal findings with no traumatic injury. The defendant’s expert testified that the plaintiff’s so-called disc herniations were not significant and were actually small protrusions which are typical in the general population. The defendant also called a neurologist and neuropsychologist who testified that the plaintiff exhibited no evidence of neurological injury or traumatic brain injury. The plaintiff’s claimed cognitive deficits were long-standing, according to the defense. The defense also pointed out that the plaintiff has been able to ride an ATV and engage in hunting since the date of the accident.The jury found that the plaintiff did not sustain a permanent injury as a result of the accident and awarded him $________ in economic damages resulting in a defense verdict for the defendant underinsured motorist carrier.

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