Case Conclusion Date: August 6, 2001
Practice Area: Car / Auto Accident
Outcome: Defense Verdict
Description: What happens when a Plaintiff exaggerates his or her injuries? When I came out of law school, my first job as a licensed lawyer was as a litigator at an insurance defense law firm. One of the first cases that was assigned to me, under the supervision of one of the firm’s partner’s was Zimmerman v. Adams. We represented Dr. Adams is a lawsuit where she was accused of rear-ending Mrs. Zimmerman. By the time I starting working on the case, it was nearly ready to go to trial. Most of the discovery was complete and we were working on pre-trial motions. When the day for trial finally arrived I was nervous because I had never been to trial and had no idea what to expect. Dr. Adams was nervous because she knew the Plaintiff was going to be asking the jury to award a substantial amount of money. The partner I worked for was nervous because that is what trial does to a lawyer, even one as seasoned as the partner. The evidence presented at trial was clear, Dr. Adams had rear-ended Mrs. Zimmerman. Mrs. Zimmerman’s car sustained about $900.00 in damage (which was previously resolved by the insurance company) and Dr. Adams’ car ended up with a small scratch on the front bumper. The case, of course, was about what Mrs. Zimmerman was claiming about her bodily injury. At the end of the trial, the jury returned a defense verdict, concluding that Mrs. Zimmerman’s claimed injuries could not have been related to the accident. I almost felt bad for Mrs. Zimmerman. I knew that Mrs. Zimmerman probably had, at least at one point, a legitimate claim. It would have been totally believable that she suffered some minor injuries and had to endure several months of treatment for soft tissue injuries as a result of this incident. However, she claimed at trial that over $130,000.00 in medical bills were related to the incident, including an expensive surgery on her back. Obviously Dr. Adams’ insurance company did not buy Mrs. Zimmerman’s claims, and refused to settle the case before trial. The jury did not buy it either, and she lost her case, leaving her with nothing but a bunch of unpaid medical bills.