Attorney Carol Smith Obtains Impressive Trial Win in Federal Court
Carol Smith, an attorney in our Livonia office, and her paralegal, Suzanne Fuhrman, recently scored an impressive trial win in federal court. The plaintiff, a family physician from Chicago, was visiting the Silver Lake State Park in west Michigan when he rented a Jeep Wrangler from Carol’s corporate client to drive on the sand dunes. Following a one-hour guided tour by the client through the dunes, the plaintiff crested a steep dune at a high rate of speed, causing the vehicle to become airborne and roll. He blamed the accident on negligent instruction by the tour guide to give the vehicle full throttle while climbing the hills, as well as the lack of warning that this particular hill had become peaked. He suffered several fractures of his cervical and thoracic spine, requiring two surgical fusions to repair, and claimed that he would never return to work as a doctor.
After 7 hours of deliberating, the Jury found heavy comparative negligence by the plaintiff, which prohibited any award of non-economic (pain and suffering) damages. He was awarded past wage loss, which is reduced by the 76% negligence the Jury attributed to him and will be further reduced by the considerable disability benefits he has received. The Jury further agreed with the defense that the plaintiff is capable of returning to his former employment and awarded nothing for future wages. The exact judgment has not yet been determined but is expected to be less than six figures. The plaintiff attorneys asked the Jury for $20 million. The lowest settlement demand received was $2 million. This is a clear victory for Carol and her clients.
Carol Smith is an attorney in our Livonia office where she focuses her practice on insurance defense matters. She has considerable litigation and trial experience representing clients in third-party auto claims, as well as first-party no-fault and uninsured motorist claims. Additionally, she advises clients on numerous areas of law, including insurance coverage, general liability, personal injury protection (PIP) and bodily injury claims. She may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.