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Haywood v. Collier

December 18, 1998

WARDELL HAYWOOD APPELLANT
v.
HENRY COLLIER APPELLEE



Before Thomas, P.j., Diaz, Herring, And Southwick, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herring, J.,

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 12/17/96

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. BILLY JOE LANDRUM

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: JONES COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - PERSONAL INJURY

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: VERDICT IN FAVOR OF APPELLANT JUDGMENT FOR DAMAGES OF $2,000

DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED - 12/18/1998

¶1. Wardell Haywood appeals from the jury verdict and resulting judgment awarding him $2,000 for damages sustained in an automobile accident involving himself and the appellee, Henry Collier. Haywood argues that the judgment is against the overwhelming weight of the evidence and as a result he is entitled to an additur, or in the alternative, a new trial. After a review of the testimony presented at trial, we are unconvinced that the trial court abused its discretion in ruling that the jury's verdict was not so low as to evince bias, passion, or prejudice against Haywood. Therefore, we affirm the judgment of the lower court.

A. THE FACTS

¶2. On February 2, 1995, Wardell Haywood was involved in an automobile accident with Henry Collier wherein Collier negligently struck Haywood's vehicle from the rear. Collier admitted liability, and the case came on for trial on the issue of damages only. Collier testified that the accident in question was a minor one, a "fender-bender". Additionally, he stated that after the accident both drivers got out of their vehicles and spoke, and upon asking Haywood if he was all right, Haywood responded to Collier that he was fine. Collier testified that after the accident, Haywood did not appear to be in pain or have any limitation in movement. Both parties drove their vehicles away from the scene of the accident.

¶3. Haywood testified that on the Sunday following the Saturday afternoon accident, he woke up with pain in his right side and lower back. He visited Dr. Ken Grafton, his family physician, on the following Monday, who gave him some medicine for his pain. Haywood reported to work after his appointment with the doctor, but he testified that at work, the pain in his lower back and right side persisted. He continued to work in this condition for six days. He began seeing Dr. Donald Cook, an orthopedic surgeon, on February 21, 1995. Dr. Cook testified at trial through deposition that Haywood was indeed injured, that he did suffer pain from his injuries, and that his pain and injury will probably be permanent. Dr. Cook further testified that Haywood would not be able to return to work to perform heavy manual labor. Following his six-day period of work after the accident on February 2, 1995, Haywood has worked only one day which was sometime in 1996. On that day in 1996, Haywood went to work, stayed for one hour, and then left. He testified that he continues to have trouble bending and lifting and that he was in pain at the time of trial, on December 16, 1996.

¶4. Haywood filed his original complaint on July 17, 1995, and his amended complaint on September 1, 1995, alleging negligence on the part of Collier and damages in the amount of $257,000 plus costs of court. The case came on for trial on December 16, 1996. Since Collier admitted liability, the only issue before the court was that of damages. The jury awarded Haywood $2,000. Aggrieved, he appeals to this court and prays for an additur, or in the alternative, a new trial.

B. THE ISSUE

ΒΆ5. Haywood raises a single issue in five interrelated parts on appeal which we quote verbatim ...


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