On July 26, 2008, defendant Roe Driver, 81, feel asleep at the wheel of her Jaguar, crossed over the double yellow line of the two-lane road, and T-boned the car in which plaintiff Jane Doe, age 50, was a seat-belted rear passenger. Defendant was traveling at 25 to 35 mph at the time of impact. The force of the impact moved Jane Doe’s car approximately a foot sideways and to the edge of an embankment. Jane Doe’s husband was driving and attempted evasive maneuvers but could not avoid the impact.
Jane Doe contended that Defendant was negligent for driving in such a state that she fell asleep at the wheel. Defendant conceded liability but contested the nature and extent of Jane Doe’s physical injuries, attributing most of her pain and limitation to an incident that occurred 20 years earlier where a garage door fell and hit her in the head.
The defense pointed to an emergency visit that preceded the motor vehicle accident by seven months, where Jane Doe reported numbness and tingling in her right arm, similar to the symptoms she reported after the motor vehicle accident. They concluded that Jane Doe had pre-existing problems unrelated to the collision. The defense also noted that Jane Doe was the only one of the car’s four occupants who claimed any injury.
Jane Doe claimed the force of the impact resulted in cervical flexion and extension that caused injury to the C5-6. Subsequent headaches and neck pain were diagnosed as an aggravation of disc disease and cervical dystonia. Jane Doe’s treating doctor recommended the disc replacement surgery, which she contended she would undergo.
Jane Doe also suffered neuralgia, hand sensitivity and neuropathic pain as the result of a trigger point injection she received while treating for her cervical injuries Jane Doe contended this was also a compensable injury related to the underlying motor vehicle collision.
The case settled at mediation for $1,250,000.