$1,001,000: Real Estate Broker Collects Over $1Million For Knee Injury In Auto Accident

CASE DESCRIPTION:  a real estate broker suffered chronic knee pain as a result of a car accident.  Due to her injured knee the broker could not perform her job of showing homes to clients with the same effectiveness as she previously did.  The broker brought suit to recover medical and economic damages.  The defendant disputed that claim of economic damages and the expense of her medical injury.

RESULT:  $1,001,000.00 total settlement

This litigation involved an automobile incident in August 1998, wherein defendant ran a red light striking plaintiff in her side door.  Plaintiff was stunned at the incident scene and immediately complained of left knee, hip and back pain.  Shortly after the incident, plaintiff’s hip and back pain resolved.  Plaintiff’s pain in her left knee, however, did not resolve and resulted in chronic knee pain.  Plaintiff was diagnosed with “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type 1” on her left knee.

Plaintiff, a real estate broker, argued that her left knee injury substantially affected her ability to work.  Plaintiff argued her left knee injury caused tremendous difficulty for her to show houses to clients.  Plaintiff stated that since a great deal of the houses that she displayed were equestrian properties, she had tremendous difficulty climbing up and down the hilly properties.  Plaintiff’s counsel, through the use of demonstrative evidence, presented a sophisticated economic analysis showing that plaintiff was at least 20% disabled in her work capacity.  Plaintiff argued that the loss economic capacity justified the tendering of the $1 million umbrella policy.

Defendant, State Farm, disputed plaintiff’s contentions that she lost any economic capacity.  Defendant pointed to the fact that plaintiff actually increased her wages in the year following the automobile incident.  Defendant also pointed out that plaintiff, in deposition, could not identify a single “lost sale” of a home due to the incident.  As such, State Farm argued that plaintiff’s wage loss was speculative.  Furthermore, defendant disputed the nature and extent of plaintiff’s knee injury.  Defendant presented testimony from their treating medical doctor that her chronic mean injury caused minimal pain.

TYPE OF CASE:  Auto v. Auto

INJURIES:  Plaintiff was diagnosed with cervical, thoracic and lumbar strains, as well as left hip and knee contusions.  Plaintiff was also eventually diagnosed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome; Type 1 in her left knee which led to outpatient knee surgery.


OCCUPATION: Real Estate Broker

Christoper A. Aitken & Richard A Cohn
For Plaintiff – Roe plaintiff

Peter Gates
EVEN, Crandall, Wade, LOWE & GATES
For Defendant – State Farm Mutual Automobile Company

DEFENDANT INSURANCE CO.:  Defendant self-insured