September 14, 2023. Partner Jay Eidex and Associate Nathan Chong won a victory for their client following a 4 day jury trial in the State Court of Fulton County before Judge Wesley Tailor. The suit arose from a motor vehicle collision that occurred on February 4, 2020 when the defendant was in the process of completing a left turn from Pharr Rd. to Old Decatur Rd. At the same time, the Plaintiff came over a blind hill and clipped the back of Defendant’s vehicle as he made his turn. Defendant received a citation for failing to yield the right of way while making a left turn and negligence as not disputed at trial.
The Plaintiff claimed Orthopedic treatment including cervical and lumbar epidural steroid injections and two spinal decompression procedures. She received MRIs of her lumbar spine, thoracic spine, cervical spine, left knee, left wrist, left shoulder, left hip, left elbow, and left ankle. She also received chiropractic treatment for over 3 years.
At trial, the Plaintiff presented Dr. V. K. Puppala, MD, a pain management physician that treated her. He testified that the plaintiff’s low back cervical injuries were consistent with the motor vehicle collision and that her treatment consisted of cervical and lumbar epidural steroid injections and two spinal decompression procedures. He further testified that all of his treatment was related to the collision. At trial Plaintiff presented past medical damages of $224,131.10 and a life care plan claiming future medical damages of $352,065.00 for a total of $576,196.10 in special damages.
Mr. Chong presented expert testimony form Dr. Barry Jeffries, MD, a neuroradiologist who testified that based upon the imaging studies, there was no evidence that the Plaintiff suffered any acute injuries from the accident, and her complaints of pain would likely be related to degenerative conditions that existed before the accident occurred. Next, Mr. Chong presented Marilyn Pacheco, a billing/coding expert who testified that she reviewed the medical bills and records totaling $207,788.60 and concluded that the amount of those bills was excessive and that the reasonable and customary value of Plaintiff’s medical bills equals $43,743.34. Finally, Mr. Chong presented Dr. Joseph Martino, an orthopedic surgeon. He testified that Plaintiff suffered a myofascial muscular sprain of her neck and low back, and all of her pain and symptoms resolved by February 24, 2020, thus rendering any treatment following that date as unreasonable and unnecessary. He also concluded that all of Plaintiff’s MRIs were unreasonable, and that Plaintiff didn’t sustain any permanent injuries as a result of the accident.
In closing, the Plaintiff asked the jury to award a verdict of $4.5 million accounting for past and future medical damages and pain and suffering. Mr. Eidex asked the jury award $5,000 which was the reasonable value of the medical bills prior to February 24, 2020, the date Dr. Martino indicated her symptoms would have been resolved plus a small measure of pain and suffering. The jury deliberated for approximately 2 hours before returning verdict in the amount of $8,254.65.
The defense had filed an Offer of Settlement under O.C.G.A. 9-11-68 in the amount of $125,000 and stands to recover fees and costs under that offer.
The Case is Francisca Correa vs Andrew Steioff, State Court of Fulton County CAFN 21EV005534.
Read more about Partner Jay Eidex here.
Read more about Associate Nathan Chong here.
Read more about GMKE at http://www.gmke.law.