A Richland County jury has awarded $50,000 to an Aiken County woman injured in a 2016 interstate crash–more than twice what the insurer offered, according to her attorneys.
Janice Wright was traveling south on I-77 near Columbia in July 2016 when Dennis Martin lost control of his vehicle, entered Wright’s lane of travel, and crashed into her driver’s side door. The collision totaled Wright’s car, and left her with injuries to her head, neck, and lower back, according to Robert Goings and Jessica Gooding of Goings Law Firm in Columbia, who represented Wright.
Wright was treated at the emergency room and received follow-up treatment by an orthopedic surgeon and chiropractor, but her pain continued.
“Approximately a year after the accident, she returned to the orthopedist because of worsening pain and received injections,” Goings wrote in an email. “Two of her treating physicians testified at trial. Defense counsel admitted liability for the collision but argued that not all of her medical bills were caused by the accident.”
The jury delivered its verdict Aug. 28. Goings said that the defense offered during mediation to settle the case for $12,500, and made another offer of $22,500 during trial.
“Insurance companies continue to try to low-ball,” Goings said, “but Richland County juries continue to do right by folks.”
Goings said that in support of its position, the defense pointed to the fact that Martin continued to work, that there were gaps in her treatment, and that she received treatment from a chiropractor and orthopedist at the same time.
An attorney for the defendant, Richard “Trey” Jones of Turner Padget in Columbia, said that Martin was not present at trial, but declined to comment further.
Martin claimed special damages of more than $13,000, while the defense asserted that they were limited to $3,500, Goings said.
Gooding, who primarily tried the case, said that “This case proves that soft tissue injuries have value before a jury.”
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VERDICT REPORT — PERSONAL INJURY
Injuries alleged: Soft tissue injuries to neck and low back, headaches, bruises
Case name: Janice Wright v. Dennis Martin
Case No.: 2017 CP 4003732
Judge: Benjamin Culbertson
Court: Richland County Circuit Court
Highest offer: $22,500
Insurance carrier: Liberty Mutual
Date of verdict: Aug. 28
Attorneys for plaintiff: Jessica Gooding and Robert Goings of Goings Law Firm in Columbia
Attorney for defendant: Richard “Trey” Jones III and Samuel Priddy IV of Turner Padget in Columbia