$________ - REAR END COLLISION - CERVICAL DISC HERNIATION - FUSION SURGERY - LOSS OF HAND AND ARM STRENGTH - INABILITY TO CONTINUE CAREER AS INSURANCE ESTIMATOR - DAMAGES/CAUSATION ONLY.
Allegheny County (143054)
The plaintiff was a passenger in a pick-up truck driven
by a co-worker when the vehicle was struck from behind by a van
owned by the defendant auto paint company and driven by the
defendant driver. The defendants stipulated to negligence in
causing the accident, but disputed the injuries which the
plaintiff claimed to have sustained as a result of the collision.
The plaintiff was a man in his late 40s to early 50s who was in
the course and scope of his employment at the time of the
accident. Evidence showed that the plaintiffs head broke through
the back window of the host pick-up truck after the impact.
The plaintiffs neurosurgeon testified that the plaintiff
sustained a herniated cervical disc as a result of the accident.
The disc herniation was diagnosed within nine months post-
accident. The plaintiff underwent a cervical fusion approximately
a year after the collision.
The plaintiff claimed that he continues to suffer neck symptoms
and loss of strength in his hands and arms, along with loss of
balance, associated with the cervical disc herniation and
surgery. The plaintiff testified that he did not have neck
symptoms or loss of hand and arm strength before the date of the
accident. The plaintiff appeared at trial in a motorized
The plaintiffs vocational expert opined that the plaintiff can
work only in a sedentary capacity and is unable to return to his
former employment as an insurance company restoration employee, a
position which requires on-site estimates. The plaintiffs
vocational expert testified that the plaintiff would require
retraining for another career at a cost of some $________. The
plaintiff has not returned to work since the date of the accident
and his physiatrist testified that the plaintiff has been left
with permanent physical limitations. The plaintiff sought damages
for loss of future earning capacity. His wife asserted a claim
for loss of consortium.
The defendants neurologist opined that the plaintiffs cervical
fusion was necessitated by preexisting degenerative conditions of
his cervical spine, and not as a result of the accident. The
defendants expert testified that the plaintiff sustained only
minor neck sprains and strains stemming from the accident.
The defense stressed that the plaintiff was a long-term diabetic
who had been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy before the date
of the accident. The defendants medical expert testified that
peripheral neuropathy causes a degeneration of the nerves of the
hands and feet resulting in symptoms in the outer extremities.
The defendants argued that the plaintiffs complaints regarding
his hands and arms were related to his preexisting peripheral
neuropathy and that he would have required a wheelchair
regardless of the subject accident.
The jury awarded the plaintiff $________ in damages. Delay damages
of $________ were added to the damage award for a total judgment
for the plaintiff in the amount of $________.