West Palm Beach, FL— Jurors Tuesday cleared State Farm of responsibility for the injuries a Florida man claims he suffered in a 2019 rollover crash. Thompson v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. 2019-CA-015823.
Tuesday’s verdict concludes a 4-day in-person trial against the insurer, which covered the pickup truck Michael Thompson was driving for his employer when he was hit by a Ford F-150. That collision rolled Thompson’s truck onto its hood and sent it into a utility pole.
Thompson sued State Farm under the underinsured/uninsured driver coverage it issued on the truck, claiming the wreck left him with a herniated disc in his back and a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.
Trial in the case focused on whether Thompson suffered his injuries in the crash. During Thursday’s closings, The Berman Law Group’s Jodi Page walked jurors through Thompson’s medical history before and after the accident. That evidence, she said, proved Thompson’s injuries stemmed from the wreck, and would likely require back surgery and a total knee replacement in the future.
“Michael Thompson is 23 years old now,” Page said, in requesting more than $471,000 in medical expenses alone, plus unspecified damages for pain and suffering. “And [he] has the back and the knee of someone a lot older than that.”
But the defense argued that Thompson’s injuries were the result of other incidents. During his closing argument, Nicholas Maniotis, of Flanagan & Maniotis, P.A., noted Thompson had suffered a knee injury from playing basketball before the crash that he said likely injured his ACL.
And Maniotis challenged Thompson’s credibility, noting Thompson didn’t complain of knee pain until weeks after the crash and adding that he changed his account of details surrounding the accident and his symptoms. “Which one of those things do you believe? You can’t,” Maniotis said. “If this gentleman admits and tells the truth about everything, his case is absolutely destroyed.”
Florida’s 15th Circuit is one of the jurisdictions moving forward with in-person jury trials after the coronavirus pandemic halted such proceedings for months. Trial featured a range of safety protocol, with attorneys arguing their cases through faces coverings to socially-distanced, masked jurors, while witnesses testified from behind plexiglass walls.
CVN has reached out to the parties’ attorneys and will update this article with their comments.
Email Arlin Crisco at email@example.com.
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