It may not be uncommon to recover less than you had hoped in a personal injury lawsuit. However, challenging the amount of money you are awarded to get more is a challenging feat. A recent case out of the East Baton Rouge Parish explains why courts tend to defer to the jury when awarding damages.
Stephen Gordon was driving his car on Interstate-10 with his wife, Melissa Gordon, in the passenger seat on the Mississippi River bridge in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. While Gordon was driving in the middle lane, a Mack dump truck was traveling eastbound in the left lane. The truck driver merged into the middle lane and hit Gordon’s car. The Gordons alleged that they were injured in the accident and filed suit. They sued Paul Wright, the driver of the dump truck; Vision Trucking, LLC, the owner of the dump truck; Joseph W. Wright, Jr, the driver’s employer; the owner of Vision Trucking, LLC; and the liability insurer of the driver and Vision Trucking, LLC. Ms. Gordon then settled all her claims against the defendants, and Mr. Gordon’s claims proceeded to trial.
At trial, the court determined that Mr. Gordon lacked credibility and appeared to exaggerate the extent of his injuries because much of his testimony about his injuries and treatment was contradicted by other evidence. However, the trial court still noted that Mr. Gordon had extensive treatment to his back, neck, and right leg before the accident, which intensified his pre-existing condition. The court awarded Mr. Gordon $15,000 in general damages and $5,092.07 in special damages, and Mr. Gordon appealed. Mr. Gordon argued the trial court failed to award him the full amount he claimed in special damages for his past medical expenses, failed to award future medical expenses for recommended surgeries, and abused its discretion in awarding general damages that were “unreasonably low.”