$4,500,000: Jury Verdict – Auto Accident Case / Back Injury

Client: Tim F.; County: Sacramento

Our client, Tim F., was stopped for traffic on the freeway when he was rear-ended by a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Officer. Tim was a 48 year-old man who had worked for over twenty years as a construction estimator. Prior to the collision with the Sheriff’s Officer, Tim had had four prior low back surgeries. However, his last surgery was over ten years before the subject collision. Following the collision, and an unsuccessful course of physical therapy and non-surgical treatment, Tim decided to have another back surgery to treat his injuries. Unfortunately, his back surgery did not provide the relief he was hoping for and he continued to have significant low back pain.

Tim’s medical bills from the collision were less than $50,000. By the time of trial, Tim’s wage loss was approximately $100,000. Tim returned to work after his surgery and tried hard to continue working, but his pain was severe. When his pain increased, he was forced to stop working.

The central issue in the case was whether Tim could go back to work given the injuries he sustained. The defense argued that Tim could return to work if he had another back surgery, this time a more complicated and risky procedure, called a back fusion. They argued the fusion surgery would relieve his symptoms and allow him to resume his productive career.

The County pushed hard to settle the case and offered $1,000,000. Tim’s last demand through attorney John Demas was $1,900,000 with an indication Tim would settle the case at $1,500,000. When the County would not budge from their offer, Attorney John Demas worked tirelessly preparing the case for trial.

At trial, Mr. Demas argued that the choice to have another surgery was Tim’s alone – not the County’s. Mr. Demas proved that Tim could not work as a result of the collision and that the decision not to have a fusion surgery was reasonable. The jury was convinced that Tim should not have to gamble with his health since the County put him in the position where he could no longer work. The jury returned a verdict for Tim of $4,500,000, one of the largest jury verdicts ever for a car accident case against Sacramento County.