I represent June and Carolyn. Sisters. Salt of the earth people. Quiet. Reserved. They had married, worked, raised children, buried family, and they found themselves at 76 and 79 years of age, living near to each other and living alone.
Carolyns daughter was driving when a driver ran a red light. The impact spun their truck around 2 or 3 times. Instead of dinner, they were taken to a hospital, checked out, treated, and released.
The other driver denied liability, typical in Alabama, a contributory negligence state. The only independent eyewitness was very nervous, but, critical for us, as she said my clients had the green arrow.
I reviewed the medical records: pain, bruising, tests, doctor appointments. Eventually, my clients improved. Carolyn had suffered a stroke years ago and had walked with a cane, ever since. But, June had only started to use a cane after the wreck.
I saw no benefit to deposing a doctor or by introducing the medical records. The subrogation was $1,700 and $185, so the medical bills would have been pointless.
Before June and Carolyn came to see me they were offered somewhere around $1,200 each. This offer increased to $15,000.00 each before trial. We declined the offer.
I asked them to not use their canes in front of the jury. I escorted them to the witness stand. The only damage claim was for pain and suffering. Number of plaintiffs exhibits offered: zero. Not even a photograph or a diagram.
The task of valuing pain is difficult. I admitted this to the jury. I asked them to consider $75,000, each, as an appropriate amount. I liked my clients. I believed in them. I felt that we, as lawyers, tend to complicate our cases. I wanted this case to be simple, basic and honest: my clients, their pain, and a request that the jurors agree to value pain.
We started the trial that Wednesday morning and had a verdict that afternoon: $20,000 for Carolyn and $40,000 for June. This was double the total amount that had been offered by the insurance company.