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Beachgoer run over by truck claimed permanent injuries
Volusia County Circuit Court, 7th
eye; back; head; head-fracture, skull;
brain-traumatic brain injury; chest-fracture, rib;
face/nose-face; face/nose-facial paralysis; face/nose-fracture (fracture, orbit);
neurological-nerve damage/neuropathy (nerve damage, facial nerve); sensory/speech-hearing, partial loss of;
Motor Vehicle – Truck, U-Turn; Worker/Workplace Negligence – Negligent Training; Premises Liability – Dangerous Condition of Public Property
Erin Joynt v. Volusia County,
June 27, 2014
Erin Joynt (Female, 36 Years)
John M. Phillips;
Law Offices of John M. Phillips;
KS called by
John M. Phillips ■ Sharon Norris;
KS called by
John M. Phillips ■ Thomas Kryzer;
KS called by
John M. Phillips
Francis J. Carroll Jr.;
County of Volusia;
Volusia County ■ Larry Smith;
County of Volusia;
On July 31, 2011, plaintiff Erin Joynt, an unemployed 36-year-old woman, was sleeping on the sand at Daytona Beach when she was run over by a Ford F-150 beach patrol pickup truck being driven by a lifeguard. Joynt suffered multiple injuries. Joynt sued the lifeguard’s employer, Volusia County, claiming that it was vicariously liable for its employee’s negligence. Joynt’s counsel alleged that the county was negligent for allowing the commingling of pedestrians and vehicles along the beach. He also alleged that the county was negligent in the training of its lifeguards by allowing them to patrol the beach in vehicles. Both claims were dismissed by the court. Joynt’s counsel contended that the lifeguard in question made a U-turn without looking where the truck was going and ran over Joynt’s upper back and head. Volusia County conceded negligence and the trial proceeded on the issue of damages.
Joynt was transported by ambulance to Halifax Medical Center. She sustained a skull fracture, orbital fractures and fractured ribs. She remained in the hospital six days. Joynt claimed she suffered a traumatic brain injury, hearing loss in her left ear, and left-sided facial paralysis. She had a gold weight sewn in her left eyelid to help her blink. She also underwent ear surgery to address her hearing loss. Joynt’s treating otolaryngologist testified that Joynt suffered a permanent injury to her eighth cranial nerve and continues to have residual hearing loss. Her treating family physician testified that Joynt suffered a permanent injury to her seventh cranial nerve, resulting in her facial paralysis. Joynt claimed that due to her facial paralysis she can no longer fully smile. She claimed she can’t feel her husband’s kiss fully. She claimed daily inconveniences such as not being able to fully eat out of a spoon or brush her teeth without holding up her lip. She claimed she has to drink out of certain containers and has to hold her mouth closed to even use mouthwash. She claimed she continued to have pain in her back, face and head. She also claimed she could no longer live an active lifestyle, including riding or racing motorcycles, camping, and hiking. Joynt, who was not employed at the time of the incident, went back to work as a reading specialist at an elementary school. She claimed her job was hindered by her hearing loss in her left ear as she could not have the kids stand on her left side. Joynt sought to recover damages for future medical costs, future lost earning capacity, and past and future pain and suffering. Joynt’s counsel suggested the jury award $5 million. Defense counsel argued that although Joynt suffered a permanent injury, she made a good recovery and was able to maintain a robust lifestyle. He pointed out that Joynt was able to go on a vacation in Florida five months after the accident, and take another in Amsterdam in 2013 for two weeks. He also argued that none of Joynt’s treating physicians’ evaluations mentioned any restrictions on activities, except for swimming
The jury determined that Joynt’s damages totaled $2.6 million.
Erin Joynt: $100,000 Personal Injury: Future Medical Cost; $500,000 Personal Injury: Future Lost Earnings Capability; $500,000 Personal Injury: Past Pain And Suffering; $1,500,000 Personal Injury: Future Pain And Suffering
Ronald K. Rouse Jr.
3 male/ 3 female
This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s and defense counsel.