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Jon Lewis
Jon Lewis
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I was Rearended. Is the other person at fault?


You would think that a rearend collision would be the other person's fault. Not necessarily, especially in Alabama. I just finished reading the May, 2013 issue of the Alabama Jury Verdict Reporter which is a summary of Alabama Jury Verdicts. In this issue, there were eight automobile negligence cases, and five resulted in defense verdicts.

One of those defense verdicts was in Jefferson County before Judge Carole C. Smitherman. In that case, the Defendant conceded liability. Essentially, a plumbing truck of Superior Plumbing ran a red light and rearended the Plaintiff. A police officer witnessed the wreck and cited the Defendant with a ticket for running the red light.

The Plaintiff claimed he suffered injuries to his shoulder, back and neck as a result of the collision. The Defendant minimized the damages claimed by the Plaintiff and, unbelievably, the jury ruled in favor of the Defendant. See Moody v. Miller, CV2011-900903.

So, the Defendants can run a red light and collide with another vehicle and tell the jury that the Plaintiff is not injured. That makes a lot of sense. Doesn't it?

In another case in Limestone County before Judge Robert M. Baker, the Plaintiff was stopped to make a left turn with his left turn signal on. The Defendant did not realize the Plaintiff had stopped and rearended the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff underwent back surgery. The jury ruled in favor of the Defendant. Once again, the Defendant determined the Plaintiff was not injured, and the jury believed the Defendant. Shelton v. Garrison, CV2009-900156.

How does this work? Let me explain. People do not plan a lawsuit. Consequently, you may have some back issues you are living with right now. You may have gone to the doctor and complained about your back or neck in the last five years. Or, you may have degenerative changes in your back that are asymptomatic (you have aged and may have a bulging disk, but have no pain). You are functional. Then, a car collision occurs. You start having significant pain and go to doctors and therapy.

The insurance companies who hire the lawyers to defend the person at fault, gather all of your medical records from your past and argue that all of your issues are pre-existing and not caused by the collision. Juries like this argument, especially if there is minimal damage to the vehicle. So, the jury buys the Defendants' attorney's arguments, and you are left to deal with your injuries. Who wins? The insurance companies of course.

What do you think about this?


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  1. up arrow

    great post and great idea!

  2. Jon Lewis says:
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    Thanks David!

  3. Ronnie White says:
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    The name of the game is money. It’s all about
    The insurance company taking ur monthly
    Premiums and not wanting to pay claims and
    Forcing litigation and which people can’t afford
    So they settle for little to nothing to avoid the
    Headaches or lose altogether. It’s not fair but
    That is how the game is played. Well played
    Insurance companies. Well played. Good article

  4. Jon Lewis says:
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    Congratulations Ronnie!! Enjoy the game.