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Headaches persisted after auto accident – $175,000 Verdict

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//April 1, 2013

Headaches persisted after auto accident – $175,000 Verdict

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//April 1, 2013//

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Plaintiff, age 52, was traveling northbound on Route 220 in Alleghany County when an oncoming vehicle turned directly in front of her, causing a collision. Plaintiff denied any injury at the scene but was evaluated a week later for neck and back pain and headaches. Diagnostic studies confirmed no evidence of bony injury, and plaintiff was referred to a physiatrist for ongoing treatment.

Plaintiff underwent a course of treatment consisting of physical therapy, trigger point injections and medication management with only short-term relief. She was referred for osteopathic manipulative treatments and acupuncture.

Plaintiff had a lifelong history of headaches and had received substantial chiropractic treatment prior to the collision. Evidence was introduced from a prior family physician that attributed most of the pre-existing headaches to the plaintiff’s menstrual cycle.

The evidence largely supported plaintiff’s claims that her pre-existing headaches subsided after menopause, and the treating physicians opined that the persistent headaches after the crash were related to injuries to the soft tissue as well as inflammation of the occipital nerves.

The defense expert testified that plaintiff sustained no more than a sprain/strain injury in the collision and that any symptoms associated therewith should have resolved within three months.

Defendant stipulated that he was negligent and that his negligence caused the collision, but he contested plaintiff’s claim for injuries and damages. The jury returned a verdict of $175,000 and the verdict has been paid.


Type of action: Personal injury – automobile accident
Injuries alleged: Neck and back pain, headaches
Name of case: Fridley v. Newmarker
Court: Alleghany County Circuit Court
Case no.: CL11000217-00
Tried before: Jury
Judge: Malfourd W. Bo Trumbo
Date: Jan. 31, 2013
Offer: $90,000
Verdict or settlement: Verdict
Amount: $175,000
Attorneys for plaintiff: Russell W. Updike and Jennifer K. M. Crawford, Covington
Attorney for defendant: J. Ross Newell III, Staunton
Plaintiff’s experts: Dr. Murray E. Joiner Jr., pain management, Roanoke; Dr. John Garlitz, family medicine, Lewisburg, W.Va.
Defendant’s expert: Dr. William Andrews, orthopedics, Lynchburg


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