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Rear-end – Multiple Impact – Multiple Vehicle


FACTS & ALLEGATIONS: At about 5 p.m. on December 22, 2007, plaintiff G.S., 54, was driving on Western Avenue, near its intersection with Arcadia Avenue, in Albany. When G.S. reached the intersection, he stopped at a red traffic signal. Before he could resume travel, his pickup truck’s rear end was struck by a trailing vehicle that was being driven by D.F. The collision occurred a moment after D.F. was involved in a sideswipe collision with a vehicle that was being driven by A.K. G.S. claimed that he sustained injuries to his back, neck and wrist.

G.S. sued D.F. and A.K. G.S. alleged that D.F and A.K. were negligent in the operation of their respective vehicles.

G.S.’s counsel ultimately discontinued the claim against A.K. The matter proceeded against D.F.

D.F.’s counsel conceded liability. The matter proceeded to damages.

INJURIES/DAMAGES: bulging disc, lumbar; carpal tunnel syndrome; epidural injections; herniated disc at C4-5; physical therapy; trigger point injection

G.S. drove to a hospital, where he underwent minor treatment.

G.S. ultimately claimed that he sustained a herniation of his C4-5 intervertebral disc; trauma that produced bulges of his L1-2, L4-5 and L5-S1 intervertebral discs; and trauma that caused carpal tunnel syndrome of his right, dominant arm’s hand and wrist. He underwent about four years of physical therapy. He also underwent the administration of the painkilling trigger-point injections and epidural injections of steroid-based painkillers.

G.S. contended that his back and neck remain painful. He claimed that he cannot endure prolonged periods in which he is standing, walking, or operating a motor vehicle. He further claimed that he cannot exercise, run or perform strenuous physical tasks.

G.S. sought recovery of about $12,000 for past medical expenses and unspecified damages for past and future pain and suffering. His wife sought recovery of damages for loss of consortium.

Defense counsel contended that G.S.’s spinal injuries were results of a degenerative condition that predated the accident.

RESULT: The parties negotiated a pretrial settlement. D.F.’s insurer agreed to pay $225,000, from a policy that provided $1 million of coverage.

INSURER: Travelers Property Casualty Corp.

PLAINTIFF’S EXPERT: Paul Salerno, M.D., physical rehabilitation, Amsterdam, NY