46-year-old Christie Wilson was injured in a rear-end collision on February 19, 2015. She suffered neck and low back strains. As a result of her physical limitations, she was unable to begin a specialty shoe sales position at SAS shoes. The owner of the company had agreed to a salary of $150,000. At trial, plaintiff waived her $12,000 in past medical specials, which was mostly chiropractic care. She claimed $594,623 in past and future lost income and $100,000 in general damages. Plaintiff called Todd Simpson, D.C. of Brea. He saw plaintiff on 53 visits over 9 months. He testified her pain was chronic and that his care did not totally resolve her injuries. Plaintiff called economist David Fractor, Ph.D. to provide opinions about the lost job opportunity and the offset earnings. His calculations were used by the court in determining the verdict.
The defendant disputed the entire lost earnings claim. Defense orthopedic surgeon Daniel Kaplan, M.D. (La Habra) testified that plaintiff had soft-tissue injuries that should have resolved within weeks of the collision and that the only reasonable care would have been 8-10 physical therapy visits and home exercise. Defense CPA, Alan Lurie, testified he did not believe there was any lost income because he did not have enough documentation to allow him to evaluate the claim. He further contended that he believed that SAS shoes could not afford to pay the claimed $150,000 salary.
Defense counsel waived jury the morning of trial. Following a 3-day bench trial in Orange County, Pamela S. Liosi and Eric V. Traut of the Traut Firm obtained a verdict of $669,623.
The pre-trial offer from Allstate was $10,000 and in closing, defense counsel asked that the judge award only that amount. Plaintiff served a C.C.P. § 998 for $100,000, which Allstate allowed to lapse. At the conclusion of the trial, the judge awarded plaintiff $75,000 in general damages and $594,623 in loss of income.
The defendant’s policy with Allstate policy $1 million. With interest and costs, the verdict will exceed $700,000.