Plaintiff was driving on the Beltway when a tractor-trailer drifted out of its lane and struck her. There was minimal property damage to plaintiff’s vehicle. Plaintiff’s neck hurt following the collision. She was initially diagnosed with a cervical strain and received conservative treatment for a few months. About nine months after the collision, plaintiff woke up with severe neck pain, had partial paralysis, and had tinging in her fingers. An MRI showed she had a severe C5-C6 disc herniation that was displacing the spinal cord. Her orthopaedic surgeon performed a discectomy and total disc replacement. The surgery was a success, but plaintiff had ongoing nerve problems, including tingling in her fingers.
Plaintiff’s orthopaedic surgeon was designated to testify that the herniation occurred in the collision. The defense focused on the nine-month gap between the collision and discovery of the herniation, the minor force of the impact, and the fact that plaintiff had been in another auto collision one month before this incident. She complained of neck pain following that prior collision.
Plaintiff had $65,000 in past medical expenses and $9,000 in lost wages. The case settled at mediation for $250,000.
Type of action: Personal Injury
Injuries alleged: Prominent C5-C6 disc herniation causing spinal cord displacement
Court: Fairfax Circuit Court
Tried before: Mediation
Name of mediator: Judge (ret.) Dennis J. Smith
Date resolved: Feb. 6, 2019
Special damages: $65,000 in past medical expenses; $9,000 in lost wages
Verdict or settlement: Settlement
Attorney for plaintiff: Matthew C. Perushek, Fairfax
Plaintiff’s experts: Michael E. Goldsmith, orthopaedic surgeon