On March 18, 2019 a Panola County jury rendered a $40,000 verdict in Griffin v. Hartman.

The rear bumper of Plaintiff’s vehicle was “bumped” by the front bumper of Defendant’s vehicle, resulting in dislocation or loosening of the rear bumper.  The low impact collision was in a parking lot in Batesville in March 2017.

Plaintiff sustained permanent chronic lumbar sprain strain according to her family physician, Dr. Johnny Cummings. Dr. Cummings opined that she would be dealing with this condition for the rest of her life and would require prescription pain medication as needed.  He further opined that she should avoid lifting over 15 pounds. His opinions were based on plaintiff’s having no prior history of back pain and that her complaints follow objective indicators to include spasms and tenderness on exam and recommended that she could stand for four hours at a time and then rest for 15 minutes.

Plaintiff’s medical expenses were $6,700. Plaintiff, a self-employed hairstylist, offered proof of decreased earnings as a hairdresser due to inability to stand for extended periods and missing work due to chronic pain.

Defendant admitted liability, but disputed that Griffin’s injuries were related to the minor bump and that such a low impact could not cause chronic lumbar strain and an injury of indefinite duration.  Defendant based her argument on photographs showing no visible property damage. Defense counsel argued that Plaintiff should not receive a “windfall” for being bumped in a drive through parking lot.

Plaintiff’s attorney was Yancy B. Burns of Burns & Associates in Jackson.

Defendant’s attorney was William Whitehead, Jr. of Bryan Nelson in Hattiesburg.

Circuit Judge Jimmy McClure presided.