Joe Petka successfully represented a national UM carrier in a Philadelphia jury trial that ended in a defense verdict after just 30 minutes of deliberation. The case involved a full tort off-duty Philadelphia police officer that was rear-ended by an uninsured driver. The 37-year-old mother of three was taken from the accident scene to the emergency room for complaints of back pain. The plaintiff’s family doctor recommend therapy, which she went on to receive over the course of nine (9) months. During that time period, she had a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon and an MRI of her low back which confirmed disc protrusions in her lumbar spine. At trial, the plaintiff alleged constant low back pain which rendered her unable to exercise and limited her ability to run after suspects while working as a police officer. She also claimed she could no longer cook, clean or maintain a garden.
For the defense, Mr. Petka argued that the plaintiff’s alleged injuries were not credible. Specifically he pointed out the relatively minor nature of her property damage and the fact that the plaintiff only missed five days of work before returning with no restrictions. He also cross-examined the plaintiff on the fact that she lost 25 pounds since the accident which contradicted her claim that she could no longer exercise. Mr. Petka also noted that the plaintiff failed to get injections as her doctor recommended. Finally, on cross-examination Mr. Petka got the plaintiff’s expert to concede that the plaintiff’s MRI findings likely predated the accident at issue.
After a short deliberation, the jury of 6 men and 6 women returned to the courtroom finding that the plaintiff failed to prove factual cause.