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Rear end collision - Soft tissue neck and back injuries - Breast reduction surgery required - Permanent, serious disfigurement claimed - Damages only.

Philadelphia County

The plaintiff was a 22-year-old female who was a passenger in a vehicle struck from behind by a car driven by the defendant. The plaintiff claimed that she sustained soft tissue neck and back injuries in the accident which necessitated breast reduction surgery. The plaintiff claimed that the breast reduction surgery left her with permanent, serious disfigurement as per the limited tort option of her automobile policy. The defendant admitted negligence in striking the back of the vehicle in which the plaintiff was riding, but disputed the causal relationship p 7 3 between the accident and the plaintiff’s breast reduction surgery.

Evidence showed that the plaintiff was a passenger in a car which was stopped in traffic when it was impacted from behind by the defendant’s vehicle. The plaintiff’s plastic surgeon and orthopedic expert both testified that the plaintiff’s back and neck pain caused by the accident would not resolve until breast reduction surgery was performed. The plaintiff allegedly sustained permanent scarring of her chest as a result of the surgery.

The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert opined that the defendant’s vehicle was traveling at approximately 20 mph at the time of impact and that the speed was sufficient to cause the injuries alleged by the plaintiff. The amount of property damage sustained by the plaintiff’s car was disputed, but was within a range of $________ to $________.

The defendant’s accident reconstruction expert testified that the impact occurred at approximately 4 mph and that the speed was not sufficient to have caused the back and neck injuries claimed by the plaintiff. The defendant’s orthopedic expert opined that the plaintiff’s breast reduction surgery was not causally related to the accident. The plaintiff had a history of back and neck pain caused by large breasts which pre-dated the accident, according to evidence offered.

The jury found that the plaintiff did not sustain a permanent serious disfigurement as a result of the accident.

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