COVID-19 Update: We are open and serving our clients. Learn More >>>

Memphis Appeals Court Affirms Damages Award in Favor of Shelby County Car Accident Victim

In Berry v. City of Memphis, a Shelby County driver was apparently hurt when her automobile was struck in an intersection by a Memphis police cruiser in 2003.  The motorist reportedly lost consciousness and had to be extricated from her vehicle using the Jaws of Life as a result of the collision.  The driver was then treated for a head contusion and musculo-skeletal harm to her head, back, neck, and chest. Despite this, x-rays taken following the crash did not indicate that the woman suffered any broken bones or other abnormalities.  The hospital discharged the woman on the day of the accident.

About two days later, the woman sought medical treatment for pain in her head, neck, back, and leg.  Her doctor apparently referred the driver to physical therapy.  Several years later, the woman filed a negligence lawsuit in Shelby County against the police officer who struck her and the city that employed him at the time.

During a bench trial, the injured driver, her passenger, and her friend testified about the woman’s injuries.  In addition, the police officer who struck the woman and a non-treating medical expert offered deposition testimony.

According to the hurt motorist, her airbag failed to deploy, and she missed about 45 days of work due to the collision.  She also stated she discontinued physical therapy but continued to perform the exercises prescribed by her physical therapist.  In addition, the woman’s medical expert testified that the driver’s accident-related medical expenses were both necessary and reasonable, even though he had not worked in an emergency room for more than 20 years.

The trial court ruled that the hurt motorist was not at fault for the traffic wreck and issued a damages award of almost $152,000 in her favor.  The court also awarded the woman both court and discretionary costs.  After that, the city filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals of Tennessee at Memphis.

On appeal, the city claimed the driver’s medical expert was not qualified to provide his opinion regarding reasonable emergency medical costs, the motorist should not recover for any damages that resulted from her own failure to mitigate her harm, and the woman’s testimony regarding her pain and suffering was not sufficient to warrant the amount of financial compensation she received from the trial court.

First, the Court of Appeals found that the city failed to preserve the issue of the medical expert’s qualifications for appeal.  After that, the appellate court stated the city’s appellate brief lacked citations to any authority, as required in Rule 27 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure.  Because of this, the court held that the city’s remaining issues on appeal were also waived.  Ultimately, the Court of Appeals of Tennessee at Memphis affirmed the Shelby County court’s judgment and assigned all costs of the appeal to the city.

The hardworking attorneys at the Hartsoe Law Firm, P.C. help individuals who were hurt as a result of another driver’s negligence receive the financial compensation their injuries merit. To discuss your car accident case with an experienced personal injury lawyer today, call the Hartsoe Law Firm, P.C. at (865) 524-5657 or contact us online.

Additional Resources:

Berry v. City of Memphis, Tenn: Court of Appeals 2015

More Blog Posts:

Tennessee Federal Court Upholds Jury Verdict in Favor of Customer Who Was Hurt in Department Store Slip and Fall Accident, March 25, 2015, Knoxville Injury Lawyer Blog

Primary UIM Insurer May Not Offset Medical Payments Made by Injured Passenger’s Insurance Company in Tennessee, February 18, 2015, Knoxville Injury Lawyer Blog


Contact Information