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Virginia woman hurt in taxi wreck in Seattle – $900,000 Settlement

Plaintiff was on a work-related trip to Seattle on Nov. 15, 2015. She was taking a taxi to the airport to return to Virginia when the cab driver lost control of the vehicle. He drove at a high rate of speed over standing water in a rain storm, hydroplaned and crashed into a cement road barrier. Plaintiff suffered comminuted fractures to her cervical spine at C1, C2, and C4, and also a C5 spinous process fracture. In addition, she had a traumatically herniated disc at L5-6. She had a prevertebral hematoma from C2-C7 and cervical ligament injuries from C2-C6.

Plaintiff suffered immediate pain in her neck and both hands. She was treated in a Seattle hospital for several days before returning to Virginia. It was determined that she was suffering some impingement of her spinal cord, and Dr. Christopher Shaffrey ultimately performed a cervical fusion surgery to address her cervical spine injury. Plaintiff underwent physical therapy, but continued to have hypersensitivity, numbness and some loss of motor control of her hands which significantly affected her work. Shaffrey opined in his deposition that she would have these symptoms permanently. She suffered a number of life-changing effects from her injury, including increased fatigue and loss of stamina, and PTSD-like symptoms. Dr. Shaffrey also opined that, because of her spinal injuries, plaintiff was at increased risk for future cervical spine surgery.

Plaintiff had a substantial number of work colleagues and friends who provided testimony regarding the significant impact of the collision and injuries on her life.

Kenneth R. Friedman and the firm of Friedman/Rubin in Seattle were retained after initial settlement negotiations in Virginia broke down. Litigation was filed, and the case was settled for $900,000 at mediation after discovery was completed.


Type of action: Personal Injury/Automobile Accident

Injuries alleged: Cervical spine fractures/Herniated L5-6

Court: King County, Washington

Case no.: 17-2-27128-4

Name of mediator: Hon. Paris Kallas (Ret.)

Date resolved: June 21, 2018

Special damages: $111,926.00 in past medical expenses


Verdict or settlement: Settlement

Amount: $900,000

Attorneys for plaintiff: Fletcher W. Harkrader III, Charlottesville; Kenneth R. Friedman, Seattle

Attorneys for defendant: Aaron Dean, Seattle

Plaintiff’s experts: Medical illustrations by Amicus Visual Solutions, Medical Management

Resources provided medical analysis. Dr. Christopher Shaffrey, orthopedic and neurological surgeon – University of Virginia Hospital.