Jury Returns Verdict of $23,000 Despite Pre-existing Conditions and Gap in Treatment

When an injured victim of a negligent driver does not go to the doctor on a regular bases insurance adjusters call that a gap in treatment. Insurance companies try to save themselves money when there is a gap in treatment by arguing that the victim must not be hurt badly or he or she would go to the doctor more often. Insurance companies also try to short change, injured victims when the victim has had a prior injury to some part of the body that was injured in the collision. Gaps in treatment and pre-existing injuries are magic to the ears of insurance adjusters. Unfortunately juries are also sometimes influenced by these factors, which are not always relevant. Both of these factors were involved in a recent Beaufort County South Carolina Case.

The plaintiff, Michael Vergantino was driving his vehicle when he was re-ended by a vehicle driven by the defendant David Moffett in Beaufort, South Carolina. There was a significant amount of property damage to Mr. Vergantino’s car and Mr. Moffett admitted liability.

Mr. Vergantino alleged that he attempted to continue to work through his pain, but he sought treatment for the back pain after two years. He said that his injury was aggravated by the driving required by his job as a traveling salesman and that he was laid off when his sales declined as a result of his back injury. Mr. Vergantino also argued that his working career was shortened as a direct result of his injuries. He sought economic and non-economic damages.

Mr. Moffett contended that Mr. Vergantino did not treat for two years for a specific back complaint. He also said that the plaintiff had a preexisting back condition which worsened two years post-accident and that his complaints were unrelated to this accident.

The alleged injuries were aggravation of preexisting bulging lumbar disc, which was treated conservatively. Mr. Vergantino continued to work, but claimed the extensive driving that his work required aggravated his injuries. Mr. Vergantino sought $8,000 in past medicals and nonspecific lost income.

On October 21, 2009 a verdict of $23,000 was returned for the plaintiff. The defendant was ordered to pay the injured victim $23,000, for injuries he caused.

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