from the Caddo Judicial District Court for the Parish of
Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 576842 Honorable Michael A.
LAW FIRM By: S. P. Davis Counsel for Appellant.
BRETT CAIN Counsel for Appellee.
BROWN, CARAWAY and LOLLEY, JJ.
Thomas appeals a judgment of the First Judicial District
Court, Parish of Caddo, State of Louisiana, which awarded him
$5, 000.00 in general damages and $6, 027.90 in special
damages against Nicky Morris and Safeway Insurance Company
("Safeway"). For the following reasons, we amend
the trial court's judgment to increase the general damage
award to $10, 000.00, and as amended, affirm the judgment.
October 2, 2013, Courtland Thomas was a passenger in a
vehicle owned and operated by Leonard Williams. They were
stopped at a traffic light at the intersection of Youree
Drive and Kings Highway in Shreveport, Louisiana. When the
light turned green, Williams proceeded forward, but quickly
came to a complete stop because of traffic. When Williams
stopped his vehicle, it was rear ended by a vehicle driven by
Nicky Morris, who was insured by Safeway. As a result, Thomas
sustained injuries and eventually sought medical attention
from Willis Knighton Medical Center ("Willis
Knighton") on October 7, 2013. He subsequently was
treated by Dr. Majdi Dawud, a chiropractor, from October 15,
2013, through January 22, 2014, for headaches and back and
ultimately filed suit against Morris and his insurer,
Safeway. The parties stipulated to the medical records and
bills of Willis Knighton and Dr. Dawud for a total amount of
$6, 027.90. Additionally, the parties stipulated that if Dr.
Dawud were called to testify, he would state that
Thomas's injuries were "more probably than not"
due to the collision caused by Morris. After a trial on the
merits, Thomas was awarded the stipulated amount of special
damages and a general damage award of $5, 000.00. Thomas
appeals that judgment.
appeal, Thomas raises only one assignment of error, arguing
that the trial court abused its discretion in awarding him
$5, 000.00 in general damages, when he was treated for his
injuries for three months and experienced pain from the date
of injury (October 2, 2013) until the date of trial (January
21, 2016). According to Thomas, the trial court erred in
limiting his general damages to three months of pain, when he
had pain for at least 26 months. Thomas argues that the trial
court's reliance on the finding that he had reached
"medical maximum improvement" was misplaced because
that does not mean he was free from pain or recovered from
assessment of damages, much discretion is vested in the trier
of fact. La. C.C. art. 2324.1. General damages include pain
and suffering, inconvenience, the loss of physical enjoyment,
and other losses of life or lifestyle that cannot be
definitively measured in monetary terms. McGee v. A C and
S, Inc., 2005-1036 (La. 07/10/06), 933 So.2d 770;
Young v. Marsh, 49, 496 (La.App. 2d Cir. 11/19/14),
153 So.3d 1245.
is no mechanical rule for determining general damages. The
facts and circumstances of each case control. Guerrero v.
Brookshire Grocery Co., 49, 707 (La.App. 2d Cir.
04/29/15), 165 So.3d 1092; Blue v. Donnie Baines Cartemps
USA, 38, 279 (La.App. 2d Cir. 03/03/04), 868 So.2d 246.
The nature, relative severity and bodily extent of injuries
are qualitative factors that must first be considered by the
trier of fact in awarding general damages. Young,
supra. The duration of a plaintiff's injury symptoms
and the duration of treatment are relevant quantitative
factors that must also be taken into account. Id.;
Caldwell v. ANPAC Ins. Co., 50, 333 (La.App. 2d Cir.
01/13/16), 185 So.3d 846, 848.
an appellate court may disturb such an award of general
damages, the record must clearly reveal that the trial court
abused its broad discretion in making the award, based on the
facts and individual circumstances peculiar to the case under
consideration. Youn v. Maritime Overseas Corp., 623
So.2d 1257 (La. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1114,
114 S.Ct. ...