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Despite Claims That Neck And Back Injuries Were 'Soft Tissue; Only, Florida Jury Awards $2 Million To Injured Motorist

On April 14, 2008, Maria Zemlik was backing a Ford 350 pickup truck northbound from Highland Street into the intersection of Citrus Drive in Palm Harbor, Fla. Kimberly Denny was driving her motor vehicle westbound on Citrus Drive when Zemlik backed into her.  At the time of the collision, Zemlik was operating a vehicle owned by defendant Brian Franzen and was running a "business errand" for Franzen d/b/a Franzen Marine. The parties disputed liability, causation, and damages, issues which became even more complicated when Denny was involved in a subsequent motor vehicle collision.

Numerous experts were hired, including accident reconstruction, biomechanics, neurology, neurosurgery, radiology, and orthopedic surgery experts to support their respective side's claims that Denny's $1.2 Million in past medical bills did/did not result from the collision. These injuries included disc herniations at C5-6 and C6-7; thoracic disc herniations at T7-8, T8-9, and T9-10, as well as aggravation to preexisting thoracic herniations; disc herniation at L4-5; injuries to right shoulder, elbow, hip, wrist, and knee; two anterior cervical discectomies and fusions plus removal of cervical hardware; two lumbar discectomies with fusions plus removal of hardware; thoracic surgery; arthroscopic surgeries.

During the 10-day trial, the defense argued that plaintiff had preexisting medical conditions and basically suffered soft-tissue injuries from the collision worth approximately $25,000. A Pinellas County jury disagreed, and after six hours of deliberation awarded plaintiff over $2 Million in damages, including $1,281,064.09- past and future medical expenses; $800,000 - past and future pain and suffering, on March 22, 2013. The jury also found Zemlik 100% negligent. The court denied defendants' motion for remittitur.  Plaintiff is seeking the taxation of attorney fees and litigation expenses pursuant to a lapsed $1.5 Million proposal for settlement. 2013 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 5141

Plaintiff Kimberly Denny was represented by Timothy M. Ingram of Ingram & Eno, P.A., Clearwater, FL. Defendant Maria Zelik was represented by Jeffrey M. Worman, Clearwater, FL.  Defendant Brian Franzen d/b/a Franzen Marine was represented by Samuel R. Mandelbaum of Mandelbaum, Fitzsimmons, et al., P.A., Tampa, FL . 


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