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Degenerative disc disease aggravated after accident — $500,000 verdict

Type of action: Auto accident

Injuries alleged: Aggravation of pre-existing degenerative disc disease and stenosis with a disc herniation at L4-5

Name of case: Jeffries v. Reed

Court: Danville Circuit Court

Case no.: CL19-0137

Tried before: Jury

Name of judge or mediator: Judge James R. Reynolds

Date resolved: 4/12/2022

Special damages: $154,982.78

Demand: $500,000

Offer: $20,000 from under insured coverage ($25,000 previously paid by liability carrier)

Verdict or settlement: Verdict

Amount: $500,000

Attorneys for plaintiff (and city): Colin P. O’Dowe, Norfolk

Description of case: The plaintiff was a 78-year-old man who was involved in a motor vehicle collision on April 12, 2017, in Danville. The defendant failed to yield at a stop sign and struck the rear passenger side of the plaintiff’s pickup truck which caused minor property damage.

The plaintiff had pre-existing degenerative disc disease and stenosis in his lumber spine. The plaintiff was diagnosed with a herniated disc at L4-L5 with foot drop after the collision which required a fusion surgery performed on Nov. 14, 2017. Subsequently, the plaintiff underwent a second lumbar surgery on July 19, 2018, to remove a screw that was causing the plaintiff weakness. The plaintiff incurred $154,982.78 in medical bills.

The defendant had a $25,000 liability policy with Allstate and the limits were offered and accepted in 2020 pursuant to Va. Code § 38.2-2206. The plaintiff had two State Farm policies with underinsured motorist coverage of $250,000 each, for a total underinsured motorist coverage exposure of $475,000.

The plaintiff’s treating neurosurgeon was Dr. Stern from Greensboro, North Carolina. State Farm hired Dr. William Andrews to do a records review. Andrews testified live and indicated approximately $5,500 of the medical bills and treatment were related to the subject motor vehicle collision.

State Farm made its first settlement offer of $20,000 ($45,000 globally), four days before trial.

After 30 minutes, the jury returned a verdict of $500,000.

Plaintiff’s counsel Colin O’Dawe provided case information.