$2.1 Million Verdict in Car Accident Case

Congratulations to attorney Ben Wells, of Seattle law firm Wells Trumbull, for a remarkable $2.1 million verdict on a car accident case. Wells pulled lessons from Trial by Human, Moe Levine on Advocacy, Polarizing the Case, Rules of the Road, and Running with the Bulls to arrive at this just verdict.

Ben has presented two webinars for Trial Guides: Jury Selection that Connects and Opening Statements that Move and The Risks of Direct Examination and the Power of Cross-Examination. Both are available as on-demand videos.

Here is the story, in the attorney’s words:

In 2020, a man was driving to work in a Ford F-350, crew cab. He was traveling 35-40 mph when he dropped his coffee cup and it landed at his feet. He bent over to pick it up, driving into an intersection on a red light.

A healthy, active, 60-year-old African American man was waiting at the intersection in a Nissan Altima. The light changed to green and he began to move forward. Suddenly, without warning, he was hit in the passenger side front of his car and spun 360 degrees, hitting his head. Even though he felt dazed and disoriented, he insisted on going to work. After about an hour, however, he went to the ER with nausea, blurred vision, as well as neck and spinal pain.

After being released from the hospital, he called around to see a medical doctor but was told there was a wait. He began treating solely with a chiropractor; he saw the chiropractor for 13 months and then stopped all treatment for 4 months.

When he contacted our office, we began to investigate his injuries. An MRI taken of his neck showed long-term degeneration. After seeing a top-notch rehabilitation doctor in Seattle, our client received physical therapy, trigger-point injections, and consultations with three surgeons. (None offered immediate surgery, but one said surgery was inevitable.)

We filed a lawsuit in Seattle, and the trial began in November 2023. The defense argued his symptoms were from a preexisting condition in the neck and back. They argued that he had recovered because when he renewed his commercial driver’s license he stated NO to the questions about neck, back, and memory problems. They argued that a visit to the ER years later was evidence of the ongoing degeneration that was occurring in his neck, and not from the crash in question.

We called a rehabilitation doctor with a PhD in physical therapy as an expert witness, as well as lay witnesses. His wife was also a plaintiff for loss of consortium.

The defense doctor testified that our client had a car crash 30 years ago and that was the source of his current pain. They relied on a medical record 1.5 years before the crash where our client said he had 10/10 neck pain and it had plagued him in one form or another for 30 years.

On cross-examination, the defense doctor admitted that he believed that the plaintiff had some level of neck pain for 30 years after a car crash when the client was just 30 years old, but admitted that he believed in the subject crash he only had symptoms for 6 months or so and returned to baseline, despite being 60 at the time of the subject crash. The hypocrisy was obvious.

The jury awarded 2.1 million, including $100,000 for loss of consortium.

Don't miss out on Ben's upcoming webinar on February 28th with Eric Fong on how to craft a winning closing argument. Sign up at the link below.



In How to Craft Closing Arguments that Maximize Damages, Ben and Eric share tested strategies on the following topics: 

  • Strategies for dealing with defense lawyers' tactics
  • How to bring up monetary damages
  • Utilizing reenactment as a strategy in closing
  • Techniques for building trust with the jury
  • How juries react differently to defense vs plaintiff lawyers
  • Finding your authentic voice in closing
  • Simplifying your case story
  • Preparation and organization of your closing argument

Click here to register.