While at a complete stop with her turn signal activated, preparing to execute a left turn, the plaintiff, a 50-year-old, child abuse prevention counselor, was struck from behind by a passenger van operated by the defendant. The impact forced the plaintiff’s vehicle into a nearby ditch, abutting the main roadway. Police and emergency personnel arrived at the scene and the plaintiff was transported to the hospital by ambulance. Although no loss of consciousness was reported, the plaintiff was confused and disoriented, heightening the suspicion of a closed head injury. In addition to her cognitive complaints, the plaintiff also complained of severe neck, back, wrist, and knee pain. Subsequent diagnostic studies revealed large posterior disc herniations at the C4-C5, C5-C6, and C6-C7 levels, with impingement upon the thecal sac and proximate spinal cord, with bilateral C5-6 radiculopathy, right greater than left, with superimposed bilateral median neuropathy (carpal tunnel syndrome) at the wrist.
In addition to her cervical herniations, the plaintiff also suffered a complex tear of the posterior horn of her medial meniscus, and a partial tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee, requiring surgical repair. The plaintiff ultimately went-on to require a total knee replacement, which was complicated by a post-operative wound infection (staph aureus) of her left knee, resulting in multiple subsequent surgical procedures, including an explanation of her total left knee arthroplasty and implantation of antibiotic cement and a spacer blocker.
In addition to the foregoing, the plaintiff also suffered from profound depression and memory impairment following the accident.
Medical bills totaled approximately $230,000.
The case was successfully resolved following two days of extensive mediation presentations by both parties.
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