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$3.75 million recovery: Citrus County, Florida, Rev. Doe v. XYZ Corp.

Forty-nine year old pastor, John Doe, was injured when the vehicle he was riding in was rear-ended at a high rate of speed by a pick-up truck owned by XYZ Corp. Doe was airlifted from accident scene to Tampa General Hospital where a diagnosis of closed head injury was made. He was released the following day without restrictions.

Following his discharge from the hospital, Doe continued to experience symptoms compatible with post concussion syndrome until approximately six weeks after the motor vehicle accident when he developed change in speech, gait and mentation. Diagnostic testing revealed a subacute subdural hematoma which was surgically evacuated through a bilateral burr hole procedure. The subdural hematoma recurred about four weeks later and Doe was taken back to surgery where bilateral craniotomies were ultimately successful in controlling the subdural bleed.

Rev. Doe returned to work at his new church but, because of his absences from the pulpit and his inability to perform his job as effectively as he had before the accident, the congregation slowly declined in attendance and giving.

Rev. Doe applied for and received a disability determination from his National Church Pension Fund approximately one year post accident that paid him approximately $13,000.00 per year. This decision is reviewable annually to determine whether Rev. Doe is still significantly disabled from his occupation.

Although Rev. Doe had no physical limitations or restrictions, neuropsychological testing suggested subtle brain damage in the frontal lobe region resulting in personality changes felt to be incompatible with his role as the pastor of his church, including lack of patience, insensitivity, impulsivity and difficulties with concentration and memory. The neuropsychologist retained by defense counsel testified that Rev. Doe could return to work as a pastor on a full time basis after cognitive retraining. The defense testimony was bolstered by test results reflecting Rev. Doe had a post accident IQ of over 130. This testimony was disputed by Plaintiff's neuropsychologist and by Plaintiff's psychiatrist.

Summary judgments were obtained on the issues of Defendants' liability, vicarious liability under respondeat superior and Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine, seatbelt and comparative negligence. The case was resolved at mediation 30 days before trial.

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