Our Client’s Problem
The plaintiff, a medical service provider, damaged her sports car when it ran over a log that fell from our client’s logging truck. Although the vehicle damage was minor, the plaintiff alleged that she sustained extensive soft-tissue and nerve injuries that interfered with her ability to work at her full-time job and part-time sideline practice. She testified in deposition that the accident caused her to develop severe migraine headaches and fibromyalgia that left her totally disabled for hours and days at a time. In the midst of her infirmity, the plaintiff got married, left her job and moved 200 miles away to the hometown of her new husband. Our client needed help discerning how much of her wage loss was due to her alleged injuries as opposed to her move.
Robson, P.C. Approach
We analyzed the records of the sideline practice before and after the accident and began noticing check card purchases from department stores, restaurants and hotels on days that she claimed she was unable to work. Through discovery, we obtained more extensive records of the plaintiff’s numerous credit card and charge card accounts. The records showed several interesting things, including substantial evidence of financial distress that predated the accident and numerous instances of shopping trips, meals out, and vacations on days she claimed that her headaches and fibromyalgia had left her unable to work. The plaintiff’s spending activity was more consistent with an employee playing “hooky” than someone too sick to work. We also analyzed the plaintiff’s work hours and payroll before and after the accident. When we eliminated the days playing “hooky”, the plaintiff’s records did not support any wage loss.
Prior to the completion of our work, the plaintiff had shown little interest in a negotiated settlement. However, when counsel for our client produced our report to opposing counsel, the plaintiff was quick to accept a compromise settlement that was favorable to our client.