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Woman required spinal surgery years ­after being rear-ended — $400,000 verdict

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//April 25, 2022

Woman required spinal surgery years ­after being rear-ended — $400,000 verdict

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//April 25, 2022

Type of action: Personal injury

Injuries alleged: Neck and back injuries, specifically a C6-C7 disc herniation that required surgery

Name of case: Kalen v. Dreyhaupt

Court: Spotsylvania County Circuit Court

Case no.: CL18-2865

Tried before: Jury

Name of judge or mediator: Judge Ricardo Rigual

Date resolved: 12/17/2021

Special damages: Medical bills totaling $74,624.41; lost wages totaling $7,184.73

Demand: $100,000

Offer: $35,000

Verdict or settlement: Verdict

Amount: $400,000

Attorneys for plaintiff (and city): Danielle Bringard Kent, Fredericksburg; Amy Whitelaw, Richmond

Description of case: Plaintiff Kelly Kalen was rear-ended while stopped in traffic in Spotsylvania County, Virginia in May 2017. No police were called to the scene. Property damage was minimal — an indentation in plaintiff’s rear hatch, and nothing visible on defendant’s truck. Plaintiff did not complain of any pain at the scene, she did not call for an EMS and she did not immediately go to the ER. Plaintiff went home. After a few hours she began to feel pain in her neck and back. She went to the ER, and then began treatment with a chiropractor. Her back pain resolved after a few months of chiropractic care, but her neck pain lingered. Her chiropractor recommended she see an orthopedist. Plaintiff then received numerous injections, a medial branch block and a radiofrequency ablation before being recommended for a C6-C7 anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery almost three years after the collision. Following surgery plaintiff received immense relief.

Plaintiff is a career bus driver for Prince William County Schools. She had no history of prior injuries or complaints; however, the defense doctor opined that plaintiff had an undiagnosed underlying degenerative disc disease in her neck, and after three months her injuries and treatment were not related to the crash.

Plaintiff’s daughter and co-worker also testified regarding how her injuries affected her day to day life.

Danielle Bringard Kent, counsel for the plaintiff, provided case information.


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