Jury rules for plaintiff in auto accident trial, but reduces 'pain and suffering' damages

By Steve Gonzalez | Nov 13, 2008

A Madison County jury has awarded plaintiff Jessica Johnson $20,346.85 after a one day auto accident trial on Nov. 10. Johnson received about a quarter of what she had sought for pain and suffering.

Johnson was seeking damages for injuries she sustained Oct. 27, 2005, after an accident on Nameoki Road in Granite City.

Johnson alleged Nathaniel Brand collided with the rear of her vehicle which in turn caused her to strike the vehicle immediately in front of her.

Liability was not a question at trial, as Brand admitted he was negligent. He denied Johnson was injured.

According to deposition testimony at trial, Johnson sustained diverse and numerous injuries to her neck, back and head that caused her to spend money on medical care and caused her to sustain pain and suffering.

Martin Mengarelli of Granite City represented Johnson at trial. David Hesi of St. Louis represented Brand.

On June 25, a panel of two arbitrators awarded $25,000 to Johnson, however Brand rejected the panel's recommendation and asked for a jury trial.

Johnson asked the jury to award her $12,346.85 in medical expenses and $30,000 for pain and suffering.

After deliberating 90 minutes, the jury awarded all of the medical expenses, but only $8,000 for pain and suffering. In addition, the jury ruled that Brand should pay all costs of the suit.

Madison County Associate Judge Tom Chapman presided over the trial.

Prior to the start of the trial, Mengarelli filed motions in limine asking Chapman to prevent the following information from being revealed to the jury during any phase of the trial:

  • That Johnson's medical bills had been paid; and

  • Brand's opinion that Johnson did not appear injured at the scene. Mengarelli argued that Brand has no medical training and such opinions are outside the realm of law witnesses.

    07 AR 708

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