Pearce v. Bissette

David S. Henson

Practice Area:Car / Auto Accident

Outcome:$604,620 verdict

Description:Motor vehicle wreck resulting in impaired leg circulation and massive permanent swelling. Our client was a passenger in an automobile that was struck by a turning vehicle. Liability was admitted, but our client’s damages and injuries were denied by the insurance company and by the lawyer the insurance company hired for the defendant. After the car wreck, the defendant died from causes unrelated to the accident, so the lawsuit was against the estate of the defendant. As a result of her accident-related injuries, our client had a permanently swollen ankle that was larger than a football, a condition known as venous stasis insufficiency. Due to the excessive fluid accumulation, her leg was constantly painful, walking was difficult, and running was impossible. Her doctors testified that the only way to minimize the swelling and resulting pain was to continually elevate the leg, not stand or sit for longer than 30 minutes at a time, take diuretic medications, and wear medical compression stockings. They also testified that she would never be able to return to gainful employment because of her injury. The jury was able to view our client’s leg in open court. Her doctors also testified that she was at high risk for painful blood vessel disorders, including deep vein thrombosis, thrombophlebitis, cellulitis, and ulcers. Our client’s medical bills were $8,702, and she was expected to suffer $382,000 in lost wages over the remainder of her expected work life. All of these losses were vigorously disputed by the insurance company, and by the defendant’s defense attorney. Our client’s treating physicians, who testified at trial, included a vascular surgeon, her family medicine and internal medicine doctor, and her chiropractor. On the first day of trial, the defendants made an offer of $25,000. The defendant only had an insurance policy in the amount of $100,000, and since the defendant died without any additional assets, this is all of the available money that could be recovered from the case. The jury returned a verdict for $604,620. Our client was ultimately able to recover all of the available liability insurance coverage, plus her trial costs.