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Damages for mechanic strongly contested by defendants — $900,000 verdict

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//January 23, 2023

Damages for mechanic strongly contested by defendants — $900,000 verdict

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//January 23, 2023

Type of action: Personal injury

Injuries alleged: Acute disc herniation at L5-S1

Name of case: Bingham v. CES Consulting, LLC

Court: Prince William Circuit Court

Case no.: CL210002039

Tried before: Jury

Name of judge or mediator: Judge Carroll A. Weimer Jr.

Date resolved: 9/15/2022

Special damages: $305,744 in medical bills; $136,297 in lost wages

Offer: $250,000

Verdict or settlement: Verdict


Amount: $900,000

Attorneys for plaintiff (and city): Les C. Brock and John A. Merrick, Richmond

Description of case: The plaintiff, a 47-year-old auto mechanic, was rear-ended while stopped in traffic waiting to make a left turn. There was minor physical damage to the plaintiff’s rear bumper and the plaintiff reportedly denied any injury at the scene. The plaintiff later sought treatment for radiating low back pain and was initially diagnosed with strains and sprains, but about a month later when his symptoms worsened, he was diagnosed with a herniated disc at L5-S1. After conservative treatment failed, the plaintiff underwent an anterior lumbar interbody fusion with posterior instrumentation at L5-S1.

Liability was clear, but damages were strongly contested. The plaintiff had a physically demanding job and had a history of prior back issues, including a herniated disc at the same level 20 years earlier and a compression fracture at another level, and he had treated for low back pain on several occasions in the years before the accident.


The defense focused heavily on the plaintiff’s prior back issues as the source of his ongoing back complaints and argued that the slight disc protrusion noted on the MRI was the result of an unrelated degenerative condition called disc osteophyte complex. The defense medical experts testified that the MRI showed a dark disc with osteophytes, which takes years to develop and would have predated the accident. The plaintiff’s treating surgeon testified that the plaintiff suffered an acute disc extrusion in the accident, which was a new injury that caused nerve root compression and necessitated surgical intervention to address the plaintiff’s radicular complaints. A four-day jury trial resulted in a verdict for the plaintiff in the amount of $900,000. Les C. Brock, plaintiff’s attorney, provided case information.


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