Guaman v. Allstate (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
“It’s a David versus Goliath case” said plaintiff attorney Lee Levenson (Romano Law Group) in describing his client, 59-year-old Jorge Guaman who allegedly sustained back and neck injuries when a driver insured by Allstate Property and Casualty rear-ended his Toyota Tacoma in 2009. Guaman claimed that $47,140 in past medical bills were necessary to diagnose and treat his injuries which included a burst disc in his lumbar spine.
But according to Allstate, Guaman had degenerative disc damage that predated the accident, sustained no injuries, cuts or bruises, and drove his truck home without going to the emergency room. “Sometimes actions tell us more than words” said Allstate attorney Holly Carroll. In fact, only nine days later did Guaman go to a clinic to seek physical therapy. Guaman was given epidural treatments over the course of several days, which according to Levenson prove Guaman was not simply looking for a lawsuit but was legitimately in pain.
However, Mr. Guaman, a native of Columbia who came to the U.S. in 1992 and works at as a quality control supervisor at a manufacturing plant, sustained an injury on the job prior to 2009 when an automatic door fell on his head. He had undergone MRI treatments and additional treatments as a result.
In closing arguments, plaintiff attorney Eiman Sharmin (Sharmin & Sharmin) argued that Mr. Guaman will live in pain as a result of the injury with Allstate’s client for the rest of his life. Mr. Guaman will continue to work and provide for his family, but he will “suffer in the silence at night when no one else sees what is going on…The way to make him whole again is by awarding him a number of dollars." Mr. Sharmin requested $2,000,000 in damages, including $207,140.23 in past and future medical expenses.
The Broward County jury awarded Jorge Guaman $47,140.23 in past medical expenses and $130,000 in future medical expenses, plus $15,000 for past pain and suffering, and $15,000 for future pain and suffering, for a total damage award of $207,140.23.