On January 29, 2009, Plaintiff, a Registered Nurse, was injured when she was rear-ended in a four car collision. The first vehicle in the collision was driven by an employee of Defendant Landscaping Company. As a result of the collision, plaintiff suffered neck pain, low back pain and chest pain. The pain to her chest and low back resolved with time. However, plaintiff’s neck pain persisted. Radiographic films taken following the collision demonstrated degenerative changes to her cervical discs and right sided cervical facets. Plaintiff’s treating physicians all opined that she suffered from cervical facet syndrome as a result of the incident.
Defendant contended that the incident was an approximate 5 mph rear-end impact that caused minimal damage to plaintiff’s rear bumper and only minor injury to plaintiff that should have resolved within 4-6 weeks. Defendant argued that the MRI films showed minimal
degenerative changes that were consistent with the natural aging process.
Plaintiff argued that the collision was at between 10 to 20 mph, that plaintiff had never had any neck pain prior to the collision; had constant neck pain and limitation since the collision; and would require lifetime pain management and surgery in approximately 15 years. Plaintiff had past medical expenses of approximately $80,000 and continued to work following the collision. The extent of injury, future medical expenses and potential lost earning capacity was disputed by the parties.
Plaintiff initially made a C.C.P. §998 offer to settle the case for $150,000 which was rejected by the defendants’ insurer. Defendant offered approximately $35,000 to settle the case. Once the C.C.P. §998 offer to settle expired, Plaintiff subsequently made a demand for $975,000 in September 2010, which defendants rejected. Prior to trial, Defendant Offered $300,000 to settle, which plaintiff rejected. On the second
day of trial, the parties settled for $600,000.