In a recent case from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the plaintiff appealed a jury verdict awarding $3,719.20 in her favor. The facts of the case are as follows. The plaintiff was sitting in the front seat of a vehicle driven by another woman when it was rear-ended by a car operated by the defendant. The plaintiff testified at trial that the vehicle was stopped at a red light at the time of the impact. The defendant testified that her vehicle was also stopped in traffic and that when the traffic started to move, she released the brake and collided with the car in front of her vehicle.
The police responded to the incident and generated a police report. An ambulance was also called but was ultimately unnecessary. The driver of the vehicle in which the plaintiff was riding transported the plaintiff to the hospital, stopping at the plaintiff’s residence to obtain her identification along the way. At trial, the plaintiff testified that she experienced neck and back pain immediately after the impact, which she reported during an examination at the hospital.
When offered pain medication in the emergency room, the plaintiff said she did not need it because she was already taking pain medication for a preexisting chronic back condition. The plaintiff had been treated for low back pain since she was diagnosed with scoliosis when she was 12. She underwent a surgery to place a rod in her back, which later broke, requiring a second surgery. In that same year, the plaintiff was involved in a car collision, resulting in injuries to her neck. In 2008, the plaintiff also experienced a slip and fall accident, and a CT of her lumbar spine taken in 2009 showed a protrusion and disc bulge.