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Verdict exceeds coverage; plaintiff to pursue assets – $450,000 Settlement

At approximately 5 p.m. on Feb. 8, 2007, plaintiff Mills and defendant Bartz were traveling in opposite directions on Rt. 208 in Spotsylvania County. As the two vehicles approached the intersection with Millgarden Dr. (Rt. 1199), the traffic lights for both east and westbound traffic on Rt. 208 were solid green. Traffic was heavy. Bartz, who was traveling eastbound, failed to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic and turned left across the intersection directly into the path of Mills’s westbound Toyota Corolla. The two vehicles collided.

As a result of the collision, plaintiff sustained severe comminuted fractures to her right ankle, including a right pilon fracture and a right tibia fracture. The day after the accident, Mills underwent two temporary surgical procedures to “keep her leg out to length”: a closed reduction and external fixation of the right pilon fracture and an open reduction and internal fixation of the right fibula fracture. Once plaintiff’s swelling had gone down, Dr. Accousti performed another surgical procedure. On this occasion, he performed an open reduction and internal fixation of the right distal tibial pilon fracture, removal of the left internal fixator and application of a splint. During surgery, Dr. Accousti observed a large amount of articular damage and missing cartilage in the ankle. Later, the surgeon carried out a third surgery to debride a pin tract infection.

As a result of the accident, plaintiff missed several months from work and eventually left her job as an assistant with a home building company. At present, plaintiff walks with the aid of a cane. Dr. Accousti testified plaintiff will require total ankle fusion surgery in the future.

State Farm offered its liability limits of $100,000 prior to trial, and defendant offered an additional $10,000. The jury returned a verdict in the amount of $450,000. Defendant has filed a Notice of Appeal. Should plaintiff prevail on the appeal, she will pursue a post-judgment collection action against defendant.

[08-T-136]

Type of Action: Personal injury
Injuries Alleged: Comminuted fractures to the right ankle
Name of Case: Rebecca Mills v. Clifford Bartz
Court: Spotsylvania County Circuit Court
Case No: CL07-906
Tried before: Jury
Name of judge: Joseph E. Spruill
Special Damages: Medicals: $77,519.80; future medicals: $30,000; wage loss: $35,000
Verdict or Settlement: Verdict
Amount: $450,000
Date: April 22, 2008
Demand: $500,000
Highest Offer: $110,000
Expert: Kenneth J. Accousti, M.D., orthopedic surgeon
Insurance Carrier: State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
Attorney for the Plaintiff: Edward L. Allen, Fredericksburg

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