$325,000: Armored Vehicle Runs Red Light and Smashes Into Plaintiff

CASE DESCRIPTION:  Defendant, while driving an armored vehicle, ran a red light causing an auto accident.  Plaintiff sustained liver, knee, and ankle injuries.  Plaintiffs brought suit regarding personal injury and loss of consortium.  Liability was stipulated.

RESULT:  $325,000 total settlement

Plaintiffs in this matter were Joanne R. and her husband, Michael R.  They have been married since 1985.  On November 14, 1995, Joanne R. was severely injured when a Wells Fargo Armored vehicle ran a red light directly in front of her while she was traveling approximately 45 miles per hour.  Liability was stipulated.

Joanne R. received a right ankle fracture and fractured liver in the accident.  The ankle required surgical intervention, but the liver was treated with bed rest and immobility. During the course of rehabilitation on the ankle, she developed knee pain which later required arthroscopic surgery.  Plaintiff continues to have difficulty resuming the active physical activities (running, water-skiing) that she enjoyed prior to being injured.

Plaintiffs’ expert, Dr. Kendall W., testified that the knee condition would continue to worsen and Plaintiff would eventually require another, more serious, knee surgery or a complete knee replacement.  Plaintiff argued, therefore, that she would incur an additional $30,000 – $60,000 in medical expenses.  She suffered further damages with regards to lost work time with a value of approximately $10,000. Plaintiff contended that she now has a 13% medical disability which translates into a lost earning capacity of approximately $150,000 over the course of her lifetime.

Michael R. claims to have incurred a significant loss of consortium due to the fact that he was no longer able to participate with his wife in the same physical activities, and that he has been forced to undertake much more of the daily responsibility around the home.

The Defense concedes the physical injuries incurred in the collision.  However they argue that the only activity limitations placed on Plaintiff were to modify behavior in response to pain.  As evidence the Defendants pointed out that Plaintiff’s treating physician, Dr. T., had not recommended future knee surgery, and that future surgery was not likely.  Therefore, Plaintiff would incur no more than $10,000 in future medical expenses.

Defendants further contended that Plaintiff’s continuing knee and ankle problems did not interfere with her administrative duties and that Plaintiff would incur no wage loss in future.

With regards to the Husband’s claim of loss of consortium, the Defense contended that the Joanne and Michael’s marriage was stronger post-accident than pre-accident.  The Defense pointed to the family’s own testimony to illustrate this point.  Therefore Michael R’s claim did not have a value in excess of $25,000.

TYPE OF CASE:  Motor Vehicle Accident

INJURIES:  Plaintiff Joanne R. received a right ankle fracture and fractured liver.  The ankle required surgical intervention. During rehabilitation she developed knee pain requiring arthroscopic surgery.  Plaintiff is unable to resume all physical activities she conducted pre-accident.

DATE & LOCATION OF INCIDENT: On 11/14/95.

PLAINTIFF’S AGE:  Joanne R. – 35 at time of incident
Michael R. – 38 at time of incident

OCCUPATION:  Vice-President of Mr. Fax

PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEY:

Darren O’Leary Aitken
AITKEN * AITKEN * COHN
For Plaintiffs – Joanne & Michael R.

DEFENDANTS’ ATTORNEY:

Ric C. Ottaiano
LYNBERG & WATKINS
For Defendants – Alex L. & Wells Fargo Armored Service Corporation

DEFENDANTS’ INSURANCE CO.:  Self-insured

Aitken * Aitken * Cohn

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