There was a three-car collision at 4:24 PM on Thursday, August 12, 2004. Plaintiff was stopped on Rt. 59. Immediately stopped behind Plaintiff’s automobile was the northbound vehicle occupied by septuagenarians, Mr. and Mrs. Wagner. Defendant, Fernando Gonzalez, was northbound on Rt. 59 driving a 2002 Ford Explorer when he rear-ended the Wagner 1994 Buick pushing it into the rear end of Plaintiff’s 2001 Buick LeSabre. Defendant was ticketed. Plaintiff and Mrs. Wagner were taken by ambulance from the scene to Provena St. Joseph Hospital.
Defendant admitted liability. Specifically, Defendant admitted negligence and admitted that his negligence was a proximate cause of an injury but denied that his negligence caused the permanent and disabling injury being claimed by the Plaintiff.
Plaintiff sustained a herniated disk at L4-L5 and developed chronic pain syndrome. Plaintiff was a registered nurse earning $23.50 an hour on the date of the accident. She did not return to work. In August 2007, her principal treating physician, Dr. Lorenz, declared Plaintiff totally and permanently disabled as a result of the August 12, 2004 collision. Plaintiff had special damages at the time of trial in the amount of $252,000 (and continuing) and $67,800 in medical bills. Plaintiff’s attorney asked the jury to return a verdict in the amount of $2,522,826.13. We recommended that the jury return a verdict in an amount of $100,000. The defendant offered $250,000 and indicated $500,000 if plaintiff would reduce her demand below seven figures. Plaintiff refused. Her final settlement demand was 1.2 Million. The jury returned with an award in the amount of $502,132.00.