Ocala, FL— A two-car crash left a Florida dance instructor with brain damage that has hamstrung her life, an attorney for the woman told jurors as a trial over her damages opened Tuesday. Griffis v. Green, et al., 2014CA001726.
“She was the dynamic leader that ran this place,” MattLaw’s Matt Powell told jurors when describing Constance Griffis’s work at a dance studio. “But then after her injury, she became confused, she kind of lost control.”
Griffis’s pickup was struck from behind by Jared Green as the two travelled on US 441 near Belleview, Florida, in 2010. Griffis claims the collision left her with memory loss, confusion, and recurrent seizures from a traumatic brain injury, along with knee, neck, and back injuries.
With Green admitting fault for the wreck, the trial is slated to focus on evidence surrounding the impact and whether it caused the injuries Griffis claims.
On Tuesday, Powell walked jurors through the crash, noting Green was travelling about 45 miles per hour when he was two car lengths behind Griffis’s truck just before the wreck. He also highlighted the impact he says the crash had on Griffis, including memory problems he said are so severe she accidentally left her dog in a hot car, killing him.
Griffis’s medical expenses alone, he said, would run about $1 million. Meanwhile, her husband and children help Griffis with daily activities such as driving. “Her family has had to change their roles in their lives,” Powell said.
Green counters that the crash did not cause the severe injuries Griffis describes.
During Tuesday’s openings, Susan Seigle, of Brett Little, P.A., told jurors expert testimony would show Green’s car was travelling between 7 and 10 miles per hour when he actually struck Griffis’s pickup. She noted paramedics at the crash scene did not take Griffis to the hospital, and Griffis herself didn’t see a doctor about the crash until a week later.
Seigle also questioned Griffis’s contention that the crash caused her to hit her head on the car’s steering wheel, despite wearing her seat belt. “This was a low-impact crash,” Seigle said. “There’s no way, if she had a seat belt on properly in this kind of accident, [that] she would have hit her head.”
And Seigle added Griffis’s first seizure came two years after the crash. “Seizure disorders resulting from trauma don’t develop two years after the fact,” Seigle said. “They’re there right away.”
Trial is expected to last through next week.
Email Arlin Crisco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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