After Two Car Accidents, Man Denied Damages Due to Testimony of Previous Settlement

Car accidents are a common occurrence and when a car accident is caused by another party, you want to receive the appropriate relief for doctor’s bils, aches, pains and other accruing expenses. Just because an individual has received damages owed to him from one car accident should by no means preclude him from getting the deserved amount from a subsequent accident.

John Clyde Deville was involved in a car accident as a result of being hit by a mail truck that ran a red light. From the scene of the accident, Deville was taken to the emergency room complaining of neck, shoulder and back pain. At the hospital he was diagnosed with both cervical and lumbar disc herniations. Upon seeing a family physician, Deville was prescribed pain medication and sent to physical therapy. With little success, he was then referred to an orthopedic surgeon who suggested that epidural steroid injections may be the only viable option to alleviate the pain. While the first round of injections produced a small round of relief, Deville began to feel a noticeable reduction in pain with the second round.

Just as things were getting better and Deville began to feel relief, he was involved in another accident where he was sideswiped by another vehicle. While the impact from this vehicle was not extreme, his car was still thrown from his lane of travel and onto the sidewalk. As a result of this accident, Mr. Deville began to feel an increased tightness and pain in his back, pain that had originally subsided from the previous accident. He chose not to seek medical treatment immediately because he had food in his vehicle which had to be delivered. When he finally saw his physician, the severe pain had returned and this time, the injections did not help. Finally, based on advice from his doctor lumbar surgery was performed. However, the results were mixed and Deville still complained of a gnawing pain in his lumbar spine.

Deville filed a petition for damages as a result of the second accident but at trial, the jury did not award him the appropriate damages. Even though the fault of the defendants was determined, as a result of his testimony about the damages awarded from the previous accident, he was initially unable to recover for the second accident. Defendants from the second accident elicited from Mr. Deville that he had previously received a settlement from the first accident, and the jury found that he was not injured as a result of the second accident.

Not only was Deville hit by another vehicle, but the pain which seemed to have subsided, returned. When he was unable to recover for the second accident, Deville appealed his case the court stated that letting the jury know the amount from the previous settlement was inappropriate. The second accident was a separate occurrence which was no fault of John’s, and he should have been able to recover for the damages caused to him. Ultimately, the medical expenses Deville incurred since the first accident amounting to a total of over $93,000, but he was only awarded half this amount. While it was not clearly established which accident caused the majority of John’s physical pain and suffering, it is clear that after the first accident John’s pain had significantly subsided, if not eliminated completely. It was due to the second accident that John once again began to experience severe pain and discomfort.

If you or a loved one are owed damages or know someone who is, contact professionals who understand your pain and can help you get what you are entitled to.

Call the Berniard Law Firm at (504) 521-6000 to speak with an attorney who can help.

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