Type of action: Motor vehicle negligence
Injuries alleged: Spinal fusion corrective procedure
Court: Richmond Circuit Court
Date resolved: 4/15/2021
Verdict or settlement: Settlement
Attorneys for plaintiff (and city): Theodore W. Briscoe III and Geoff McDonald, Richmond
Description of case: On April 9, 2018, plaintiff was a wheelchair-bound individual proceeding down the sidewalk when defendant backed his pickup truck into plaintiff from an adjacent parking lot. Plaintiff had undergone spinal fusion surgery just seven months prior. Plaintiff was admitted overnight to VCU Medical Center for observation and was discharged three nights later.
In January 2019, plaintiff began to experience worsening back pain and radicular symptoms. Subsequent MRIs revealed that the hardware placed in plaintiff’s prior surgery had slowly begun to loosen, causing an aggravation in plaintiff’s symptoms. As a result, plaintiff required a second, corrective spinal fusion procedure.
Defendant challenged the reasonableness of plaintiff’s medical bills by designating an expert who determined that the “reasonable value” of plaintiff’s claimed special damages was a mere fraction of the billed amount. Plaintiff objected to the testimony of this expert on the grounds that it was irrelevant and prejudicial and violated the collateral source rule.
The matter was settled for the available policy limits on the week before the trial, and the day after defense expert’s de benne esse deposition was taken.