7th District Court for Smith County, Texas

Cause No.: 17-1901-A

June 18-19, 2019

Case Type: Personal Injury

Summary: This was a very difficult case. My client was a drunk driver, and this was the first time I had defended a drunk driver in trial—all of my prior drunk-driving cases had settled. So my client had been drinking all day. She was 22 years old, and had been basically hanging out with friends drinking beginning around noon, until this accident occurred at night. It was a head-on collision that occurred when my client swerved to the left as she was bending down to retrieve a cell phone she had dropped. The plaintiffs were sweet people who had just moved to Texas from California. The issue in the case was really what a jury would do with the injuries—the Plaintiffs did not go to the emergency room, and the only treatment they received was physical therapy. Cumulatively, they had about $13,000 in medical bills between them. The treated for about 6 weeks, and then there was no further treatment. The plaintiffs testified that they had basically recovered from their physical injuries, though one of them still had some lingering shoulder complaints. Their primary ongoing issues were really mental anguish, as they testified that the accident materially affected them as they drove on a daily basis. Ultimately, the jury awarded the medical bills to each plaintiff, and then awarded each plaintiff $2,000 in non-economic damages. This result was surprising to me, as I thought the jury would really punish my client. However, what kept the non-economic damages down was really that my client was contrite, likable, and had really grown up a lot since the accident, so the jury didn’t feel the need to punish. Instead, they really just evaluated the injury claims of the Plaintiffs. They deliberated for about 45 minutes.

Economic damages: $13,194.08

Verdict: $17,194.08