We recently represented a Judge in his personal injury case. The Judge had minor soft tissue injuries. He underwent some diagnostic testing but didn’t really receive all that much treatment for his injuries.
The Judge commented that he was having a difficult time keeping up during hearings. This seemed consistent with his age (70) but we thought it made sense to seek the opinion of a neuropsychologist.
The neuropsychologist indicated that even though the impact on the Judge’s cognitive ability was slight, it nevertheless affected the Judge’s ability to preside over trials. The Judge–while still very bright, knowledgeable and experienced–did not have the ability to make quick decisions.
In isolation this seems like a small drop-off – and one expected by the time someone turns 70. But there hadn’t been any decline in the Judge’s ability to make quick decisions before the accident. The timing of the decline allowed the neuropsychologist to attribute the fall-off to the collision.
The Judge announced his plan to retire later that year. Prior to the collision he planned to stay on the bench until the state’s mandatory date of retirement, an additional five years. That amounted to a loss of several hundred thousand dollars. All of a sudden a “small” case (at least under the usual valuation method that links cost of treatment to case value) had turned into a very large one.
Based on our presentation of the case and the neuropsychologist’s support, the at-fault driver’s insurer agreed to pay $250,000 despite only $8,500 in medical expenses.