Carolinas Verdicts

Find out about the most important recent North and South Carolina cases, selected by VerdictSearch editors. Coverage includes Gaston, Mecklenburg and Wake counties in North Carolina and Charleston, Horry and Richland in South Carolina.

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Motorist claimed ongoing neck, back pain due to car crash

Amount:

$50,000

Type:

Verdict-Plaintiff

State:

South Carolina

Venue:

Richland County

Court:

Richland County, Court of Common Pleas

Injury Type(s):

arm; hip; leg; back-sprain, lumbar;
back-strain, lumbar;
neck-sprain, cervical;
neck-strain, cervical;
chest; other-abrasions; other-soft tissue; other-chiropractic; shoulder; epidermis-contusion; face/nose-face (face, bruise); foot/heel-foot; hand/finger-hand; neurological-radiculopathy; mental/psychological-anxiety

Case Type:

Motor Vehicle – Multiple Vehicle

Case Name:

Janice P. Wright v. Dennis W. Martin,
No. 2017CP4003732

Date:

August 28, 2018

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Janice P. Wright (Female, 60 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Robert F. Goings;
Goings Law Firm, LLC;
Columbia,
SC,
for
Janice P. Wright ■ Jessica L. O’Neill Gooding;
Goings Law Firm, LLC;
Columbia,
SC,
for
Janice P. Wright

Plaintiff Expert(s):

James Fields; D.C.; Chiropractic; Columbia,
SC called by:
Robert F. Goings, Jessica L. O’Neill Gooding ■ Douglas Holford; M.D.; Orthopedics; Aiken,
SC called by:
Robert F. Goings, Jessica L. O’Neill Gooding

Defendant(s):

Dennis W. Martin

Defense Attorney(s):

Richard “Trey” A. Jones III;
Turner Padget Graham and Laney P.A.;
Columbia,
SC,
for
Dennis W. Martin ■ Samuel Vernon Priddy IV;
Turner Padget Graham and Laney P.A.;
Columbia,
SC,
for
Dennis W. Martin

Insurer(s):

Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.

Facts:

On July 5, 2016, plaintiff Janice Wright, 60, a chaplain services employee at the VA Hospital, was driving her sedan on Interstate 77 near the University of South Carolina’s football stadium in Columbia. The driver’s side door of her car was hit by the front of a sedan driven by Dennis Martin. Wright claimed injuries to her neck, back, arms, hands, chest and face. Wright sued Martin. She claimed Martin was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Wright claimed that she saw Martin’s vehicle behind her prior to the accident and thought Martin was losing control of the car. Wright said that Martin’s sedan then drove past her at a high rate of speed and spun out of control before hitting her vehicle. Martin did not appear for a deposition, nor did he show up at trial. Defense counsel thus conceded liability. The trial proceeded on the issues of injury causation and damages.

Injury:

Wright was placed in an ambulance and transported to Palmetto Health Baptist in Columbia. She had abrasions on her arms and hands, redness and bruising on her face and a chest contusion. Wright waited in triage, but ultimately left the hospital after receiving minimal treatment. Shortly after leaving Palmetto Health Baptist, she was treated in the Aiken Regional Hospital emergency room. After the crash, Wright complained of pain to her left side, including her neck, shoulder, arm, hip, back, leg and foot. She was diagnosed with sprains and strains in her neck and lower back, along with cervical radiculopathy. About a year later, she was also diagnosed with lumbar radiculopathy. Wright saw a primary care physician and had several appointments with an orthopedist. The orthopedist prescribed pain medication and performed injections. Wright also received two months of chiropractic care. Wright continued seeing the orthopedist as needed through 2017. Both her chiropractor and her orthopedist testified about her treatment and stated that the treatment they provided was necessary. Wright claimed continuing pain in her neck and back when she sits or stands for extended periods of time. She also said she has pain when she does too much housework. Wright additionally stated that she used to go on long walks for exercise, but is now unable to do so. She further claimed that she gets anxiety while driving, though she did not receive any psychological treatment. Wright sought $13,373.92 in past medical expenses. She also sought damages for past and future pain and suffering. The defense questioned the seriousness of Wright’s injuries by noting that her attorney had referred her to the chiropractor. The defense also noted that there was a one-year gap in Wright’s orthopedic treatment between August 2016 and August 2017. Defense counsel also argued that not all of Wright’s medical bills were reasonable and necessary. The defense specially noted that Wright was seeing her orthopedist and chiropractor at the same time in the first few months after the crash. The defense claimed that Wright did not have to meet with both doctors since the chiropractor should have just deferred to the orthopedist and the two doctors were unaware they were treating Wright at the same time. Defense counsel further emphasized that Wright had not been to the chiropractor for two years prior to trial and that she had not seen the orthopedist for more than a year. Defense counsel additionally noted that Wright had no future medical appointments scheduled.

Result:

The jury determined that Wright’s damages totaled $50,000. After the addition of stipulated $1,343.74 in attorney fees and costs, her total recovery was $51,343.74.

Actual Award:

$51,343.74

Trial Information:

Judge:

Benjamin H. Culbertson

Trial Length:

2
 days

Trial Deliberations:

1
 hours

Jury Vote:

12-0

Editor’s Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s and defense counsel. Additional information was gleaned from court documents.