Car accident trial in Madison County results in $20k verdict for plaintiff

Steve Gonzalez Jun. 5, 2008, 8:12am

Peter Blasi


After a brief two day trial, a Madison County jury awarded Shelly Smith $20,000 for lower back injuries she received in a 2004 traffic accident.

The jury reached its verdict Wednesday after 80 minutes of deliberations.

Represented by Peter Blasi of Roth Evans in Granite City, Smith alleged William Green was negligent when he collided with her at the intersection of Nameoki Road and Pontoon Road in Granite City on Oct. 29, 2004.

Smith and Green are both residents of Granite City.

During trial, Smith alleged Green ran a red light at the intersection and collided with her which caused permanent injuries to her lower back. She claimed permanent pain and mental anguish.

Smith also alleged Green failed to keep a careful lookout, failed to yield the right of way, failed to avoid a collision, failed to warn her prior to the collision and operated his car in an improper and careless manner.

Evidence presented through depositions showed that Smith repeatedly saw chiropractor Mark Eavenson and St. Louis neurosurgeon Daniel Kitchens, M.D. for the pain she experienced after the collision.

Represented by David Simkins of St. Louis, Green did not present any evidence during the trial and for the most part admitted he was at fault during the collision.

However, during closing arguments Simkins said he did not think Smith needed to see Dr. Kitchens and asked the jury to keep that in mind when finding for damages.

Prior to the trial, Green filed two motions in limine asking Madison County Associate Judge Ralph Mendelsohn to bar any evidence of insurance coverage and any evidence of Smith's husband's military career because it would prejudice the jury.

Smith also filed a motion in limine that sought to prevent the defense from showing pictures of the damage to the vehicle.

"It is anticipated that the defendant may attempt to show photographs of the vehicles in an attempt to show a minor accident and to refute the plaintiff's claims for damages," the motion stated.

"Such photographs would be irrelevant as the defendant has no expert testimony regarding any such relationship," the motion stated.

Like Green, Smith also wanted Mendelsohn to exclude any evidence that she was insured at the time of the collision.

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