By Dan Phillips
Two weeks ago, I testified in a personal injury trial where the claimant was claiming an injured back as a result of a minor impact auto accident.
The claimant, a bricklayer by trade, and fellow worker were rear ended by a plumbing truck at a construction site. The attorney handling the case for the insurance company asked that we follow the claimant to see if he exhibited any problems in working as a bricklayer.
We followed him to one job site and obtained about 45 minutes of videotape of the claimant and co claimant as they worked from a scaffold, laying brick on a new house in a subdivision. This was just 3 months prior to trial.
A week before the trial was to start, the co worker agreed to the $44,000 offer. The other claimant however was not happy with his offer for $55,000 as he felt he deserved more. The trial lasted two and a half days, and the jury viewed the entire 45 minutes of videotape.
During the time I was outside the hall waiting to testify and during testimony, I noticed the claimant constantly moving his head and neck around as if to indicate he was stiff and uncomfortable. During the entire 45 minutes of videotape he did not display this type of activity.
The plaintiff attorney argued that his claimant was merely “heavily medicated” that day and was able to move about more frequently. The jury however noticed something that I and the defense attorney had not even noticed.
During the time he was bricking the house, he had to make many precise measurements with a ruler and make precise taps to bricks to make sure they were level. The jury decided that there was no way that he could make accurate measurements while heavily medicated.
The jury awarded plaintiff $9,400