PERSONAL INJURY The defendant disputed the wage loss TRUCK v. VAN claim contending that the plaintiff was Rear-End Collision not medically required to retire from the force, and thereafter did not mitigate his SETTLEMENT: $450,000 employment damages. COURT/DATE: Third District Court, INJURIES: The plaintiff argued that the Salt Lake County / January 5, 2004 accident caused a labral tear in the right shoulder and cervical fusion surgery. ATTORNEYS: Plaintiff – Reilly The consequential limitations required Atkinson (Yuhl, Rhames, Yuhl & his retirement from the force because he Atkinson, LLP, Santa Monica). could no longer handle the physical requirements for a peace officer. The Defendant – Peter H. Christensen plaintiff acknowledged pre-existing (Strong & Hanni, Salt Lake City, Utah). shoulder and back symptoms. However these conditions were minor and could FACTS & CONTENTIONS: In 1998, not have required the surgeries or his the plaintiff, age 55, was driving his retirement from the force. pick-up truck and horse trailer outside Salt Lake City when the trailer was SPECIALS IN EVIDENCE: MEDS, violently rear ended by the defendants $60,000 van. The accident severed the trailer and slid the plaintiffs truck across the SETTLEMENT DISCUSSIONS: Before freeway resulting in two subsequent the suit was filed in July 2000, the collisions. The plaintiff complained of defendant offered $1250,000 for right shoulder pain and underwent settlement. After three years of shoulder surgery within two months. He litigation, the defended increased its experienced progressive radicular offer to $250,000, with a demand by the symptoms ultimately requiring a cervical plaintiff of $790,000. The matter fusion in 2000. The plaintiff retired from proceeded to mediation in Las Vegas the Sheriff’s office in 2001 because of before Jim Armstrong, in January 2004, limitations due to the injuries and resulting in a $450,000 settlement. surgeries. The defense argued that the second and third collisions of the accident caused the plaintiff’s injures; the plaintiff had significant pre-existing symptoms and pathology, including a recommendation for right shoulder injury before the accident; the plaintiff’s treating physicians could not opine that the accident caused either the shoulder or cervical injury let alone the surgeries.
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