Tuesday Feb 25, 2020

Case-In-Point: Demonstrating Reasonableness of Damages

  • by Dan Thompson

I testified in a low-level quadriplegic case located in Texas. The case primarily focused around liability; however, as a Damages Expert, it was my role to opine and educate the jury on the reasonableness of the plaintiff’s Life Care Plan (LCP), and their claim that this individual would no longer work.

The plaintiff’s LCP exceeded $13 million, which was approximately $10 million more than the national average; whereas, my LCP was around $3 million, which as you can see from the SCIMS Fact Sheet, is more in line with someone with low-level quadriplegia between C5 and C8. The plaintiff’s experts also lost credibility as they used SCIMS’ information to predict life expectancy; however, they clearly dismissed SCIMS’ costs and overreached when it came time to what they claimed would be the future damages. The Plaintiff’s experts overreached as the attached article explains that SCIMS’ costs also include cost-of-living; and therefore, SCIMS’ costs are higher than just the goods and services necessary to compensate for their injury.

I was able to do an IME, along with the expert Physiatrist; and therefore, we worked in collaboration which is best LCP practice. While at the plaintiff’s home, we discovered that this individual’s home had been renovated with a wheel-in shower, a lift and everything he needed to succeed. That included the ability to establish a home-based workstation. The case was located in the Permian Basin, which means they have a 2% unemployment rate, and I was able to testify about the numerous resources available to him including the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) to liaise with employers to live independently and to be productive members of society.

The original defendant that retained me was released from the case based on the judge’s summary judgement; however, the last defendant made a settlement offer before going to trial. Unfortunately, the plaintiffs were unwilling to accept the offer, which means the plaintiff did not receive an award as the jury deliberated with a Defence Verdict.

This is an example of demonstrating that credibility is everything. If you can support your findings, and know your facts, then they can go a long way to securing credibility and educating the courts accordingly.


University of Alabama – Cost of Care Following Spinal Cord Injury

NSCIS – Spinal Cord Injury Facts and Figures at a Glance