Defense alleged injuries not caused by auto accident

In April 2008, plaintiff Joao Gafanhao, 45, was driving northboud on Kennedy Blvd when he entered the intersection at 10th St and the front of his 1994 Ford Mustang stuck the front right panel of a 2004 Mercedes driven by Thomas Tota, who had been driving southbound on Kennedy Blvd and was attempting to turn left onto 10th St.

The plaintiff was taken by ambulance to an emergency room, where he complained of leg, neck, and back pain. The plaintiff saw a chiropractor who put him on a coarse of treatment lasting six months.

Tota sustained multiple multiple broken ribs as a result of the accident, died a few weeks later due to an MRSA infection.

Gafanhao sued Tota for negligence. Since Tota died after the accident, the matter went forward against his estate.

After the accident, Tota called his son who worked with him and was five minutes away from the accident site. His son stated that when he arrived his father told him that he observed the plaintiff traveling at a high speed and thought that Gafanhao would stop at the red light. The defense also argued that there is not turning lane on Kennedy Blvd and Tota was waiting in the middle of the intersection to make a left turn and could not see the traffic signal overhead. According to Tota's son, the defendant had made that turn on his way to work every day for the past 35 years. Since he was unable to observe the above traffic light, he would rely upon the traffic signal south of him at the intersection of Sixth Street. The sequencing of the lights on Kennedy Boulevard was such that the signals turned red from north to south. Therefore, if the light at Sixth Street was red, then the light at 10th Street would have already turned red. At the accident scene, Tota told his son that the traffic light at Sixth Street was red, which prompted him to complete the turn onto 10th Street.

MRI's had show that the plaintiff suffered a disc protrusion, torn labrum on his left shoulder, and a herniated L5-S1 disc resulting in lower back pain and shoulder pain. The plaintiff's treating chiropractor and pain management physician testified that Gafanhao's injuries were caused by the accident and were permanent in nature.

The defense orthopedic and neurologist experts opined that the plaintiff dif not suffer any permanent injuries as a result of the accident and the physicians only found slight generalized degenerative disc changes and no abnomality of the left shoulder.

The jury found the plaintiff 60-percent liable and the defendant 40-percent liable for negligence. Jurors further found that the plaintiff did not sustain a permanent injury proximately caused by the accident.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident or are in need of pursuing a no-fault claim, please contact our Detroit car accident attorney Brian McKenna at (313) 496-9416 or fill out the free case evaluation form on the right side of the page. You may also call our Detroit personal injury law office at (313) 965-3464.

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