Rollover Crash Aggravating Prior Lumbar Spinal Injuries

Style of Case: Sherri J. Pate v. Patricia Dieu
Client:    Patricia Dieu
Trial End Date:   1/7/2010
Court:    Third Judicial Circuit, Madison County, IL
Type of Case:    Rollover Crash Aggravating Prior Lumbar Spinal Injuries
Judge:    The Honorable Andy Matoesian
Reed Armstrong Lawyer who tried the case:  William B. Starnes II
Jury Verdict

Plaintiff was a passenger and defendant the driver of a Ford Explorer pulling a trailer on which motorcycles were attached by their boyfriend and husband respectively, the back seat passengers. On the interstate, defendant changed to the left lane to pass a tractor trailer and the motorcycles, and ultimately the trailer, began to sway back and forth with increasing severity until the Explorer flipped onto its roof, slid down the interstate, and rolled twice down an embankment landing upright. All occupants were able to get out of the vehicle. Before trial, the court granted partial summary judgment for the plaintiff on the issue of liability preserving for the jury the issue of what damages were caused by the accident.

Before the accident, Plaintiff had 3 successive lumbar surgeries (one discectomy and two fusions) involving L4-5 and L5-S1 due to a prior work accident. At trial, medical evidence was conflicting as to whether plaintiff sustained a permanent or temporary exacerbation of her chronic low back condition and to what extent medical expenses and treatment were related to the accident as opposed to the prior chronic condition.

The jury returned a verdict in the amount of $5,795.56 ($3,995.56 in medical expenses, $900 for pain and suffering, and $900 for loss of normal life). Near the time of initial treatment, $6,296.16 of plaintiff’;s medical expenses had been paid on behalf of defendant. Accordingly, the judgment has been setoff to $-0-.

Last Demand:    $65,000 during trial
Verdict:    $5,795.56 for the plaintiff; Judgment setoff to zero ($-0-).