Type of action: Personal injury – auto accident
Injuries alleged: Cervical and lumber strain, small left supraspinatus tear, rotator cuff repair
Name of case: Diane Morgan v. Jerry David Butler
Court: Norfolk Circuit Court
Case No.: L09-314
Special damages: $32,600
Verdict or Settlement: Settlement
Date: Oct. 15, 2009
Highest offer: $25,000 from Chubb; $180,000 from Hertz
Expert: Dr. Eric Neff
Insurance carriers: Chubb & Hertz
Plaintiff’s attorney: George T. Albiston, Norfolk
This case involved a clear liability auto accident where the defendant made a left turn in front of the plaintiff. Plaintiff was a Homeland Security officer. She went to her workers’ compensation physician the next day with complaints of pain in her neck, bilateral trapezius and low back.
Approximately 30 days post-accident, while in physical therapy, she complained of pain in her left shoulder. She was referred to Dr. Eric Neff, an orthopedic surgeon, and an MRI showed a small supraspinatus tear. She underwent arthroscopic surgery with a good result. In post-surgical PT, while lifting a 20-pound weight, she injured her right shoulder. Plaintiff contented that the defendant was responsible for the injury to her right shoulder, as it resulted from PT necessitated by the injury to her left shoulder.
Plaintiff last sought medical attention approximately 19 months prior to settlement, and has been at work full duty since shortly after her surgery. Defendant’s expert, Dr. Wilford Gibson, opined that the condition of her left shoulder and right shoulder were both degenerative in nature. He further opined that the lack of immediate complaints demonstrated the tear did not result from this auto accident, and the presentation of the tear on MRI was consistent with a degenerative fraying rather than a traumatic tear.