Ocala, FL— Jurors Friday awarded a Florida woman $1.3 million for the injuries she suffered in a 2017 car crash. Osvath v. Dolive, 2018-CA-000843.
The 5th Circuit Court jury, in Marion County, deliberated less than 2 hours before handing down the verdict for Maricela Osvath, who says the neck, back, and other injuries she suffered in a July 2017 crash with James Dolive Jr. have left her in lifelong pain.
The defense admitted liability in the case, leaving the four-day, damages trial to focus on the accident's impact on Osvath's life.
During Friday’s closing arguments, Morgan & Morgan’s Keith Mitnik, representing Osvath, highlighted medical testimony he said showed the crash permanently injured her. And he argued evidence showed that, after the accident, she began to suffer from chronic pain that flared during daily activities.
“Is it all just a big coincidence?” Mitnik asked. “That this pain wasn’t there before, started at the time of this crash, and hasn’t gone away?”
Mitnik requested about $7.4 million in damages during Friday’s closings, including about $6.7 million for pain and suffering. “That is a lot of money,” Mitnik said. “But that is a lot of hurt, for a lot of time, that was thrust into her life unnaturally.”
But the defense argued Osvath has generally recovered from the wreck. On Friday, Smith Bigman Brock’s Jeffrey Bigman walked jurors through Osvath’s treatment timeline, and said she sought little medical care in the years following the crash. And he pointed to surveillance video that showed Osvath going about daily activities ranging from carrying items to grocery shopping.
“Does this look like the pilot light [of pain] is still burning? Or has it burned out?” Bigman asked, while suggesting jurors award a little over $100,000 for past medical expenses and reject the permanent-injury claim. “You look at all these clips. You decide.”
After the verdict, Mitnik told CVN he believed Osvath herself played a key role in the jury's verdict. "She is such a genuine, hardworking person. The jury saw through the defense that she was exaggerating," Mitnik said. "This lady was too real to be fake."
Mitnik added that the jury delivered the seven-figure award to a plaintiff who worked as an assistant launderer. "[The] worth of a person’s health has nothing to do with their net worth. A person who lives in the penthouse doesn’t treasure their health any more than a person who cleans the penthouse," Mitnik said. "The jury understood the ideal of 'justice for all' or, as I say, 'as-is justice.'"
Email Arlin Crisco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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