Florida Verdicts

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Plaintiff alleged protrusion and bulge in spine after car accident

Amount:

$14,000

Type:

Verdict-Plaintiff

State:

Florida

Venue:

Pinellas County

Court:

Pinellas County Circuit Court, 6th

Injury Type(s):

back-stenosis; neck-stenosis; neck-sprain, cervical;
neck-strain, cervical;
neck-bulging disc, cervical;
neck-disc protrusion, cervical;
other-chiropractic; other-massage therapy; other-physical therapy; neurological-radicular pain / radiculitis

Case Type:

Motor Vehicle – Rear-ender, Intersection, Multiple Vehicle; Affirmative Defenses – Contributory Negligence

Case Name:

Christina A. Haddock v. Christine Mary Schlerf,
No. 12-008356-CI

Date:

April 11, 2018

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Christina A. Haddock (Female, 20 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Dane Heptner;
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes;
Clearwater,
FL,
for
Christina A. Haddock ■ Klodiana Hysenlika;
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes;
Clearwater,
FL,
for
Christina A. Haddock

Defendant(s):

Christine Mary Schlerf

Defense Attorney(s):

Paul A. Bernardini Jr.;
Law Offices of Roush And Bernardini;
Clearwater,
FL,
for
Christine Mary Schlerf

Defendant Expert(s):

Victor Hayes;
Spinal Surgery;
Odessa,
FL called by:
Paul A. Bernardini Jr.

Insurer(s):

Mercury Insurance Group

Facts:

On July 21, 2008, plaintiff Christina Haddock, 20, was driving a pickup truck on State Road 590, in Pinellas County. When she was turning right on a red light onto State Road 580, she was rear-ended by a sports car. She claimed neck injuries. Haddock sued the other driver, Christine Schlerf, alleging she was negligent. Haddock maintained that she was in the intersection and had stopped to make sure traffic was clear for a turn when Schlerf rear-ended her. Schlerf’s counsel admitted fault but also invoked the sudden and unexpected stop doctrine. Schlerf was also attempting to make a right turn and she claimed that both drivers were already in the merge lane on State Road 580 when Haddock stopped suddenly for no apparent reason. Schlerf said she was directly behind Haddock on 580 and was unable to avoid the collision.

Injury:

Haddock did not go to the hospital after the accident. She first sought treatment with a chiropractor two days later. Initially, she was diagnosed with sprains and strains in her cervical spine and began a course of chiropractic treatment. A few months after the crash, an MRI showed a protrusion at cervical intervertebral disc C3-4 and a bulge with stenosis at disc C5-6. Haddock claimed the pain from her neck radiated into her right shoulder, and that this pain was still ongoing at the time of the trial. Haddock continued conservative treatment, including massage therapy and chiropractic care, for eight or nine months following the accident. She then had a gap in treatment before having two additional chiropractic appointments in early 2012. Then, in 2013, Haddock began physical therapy and pain management care. She received this treatment six or seven times a year through the time of the trial. Haddock said she could no longer ride horses or ATVs because these activities caused her neck pain. She sought recovery of past and future medical bills and damages for past and future pain and suffering. Her counsel asked the jury for more than $250,000 in damages. She specifically claimed $91,522.93 in past medical bills, of which $76,127 was paid out of pocket. The defense counsel called an expert spinal surgeon, who said that Haddock did not sustain a permanent injury in the accident. The expert also stated that Haddock‘s pain management care and physical therapy that began in 2013 was not reasonably necessary. The defense asked the jury to award $8,000 in past medical expenses.

Result:

The jury found that Schlerf was 90 percent liable for the accident and that Haddock was 10 percent liable. It determined that Haddock‘s damages totaled $14,000. The comparative-negligence reduction produced a net recovery of $12,600.

Christina A. Haddock: $9,000 Personal Injury: Past Medical Cost; $5,000 Personal Injury: Past Pain And Suffering

Actual Award:

$12,600

Trial Information:

Judge:

Jack R. St. Arnold

Trial Length:

3
 days

Jury Vote:

6-0

Post Trial:

Defense counsel has filed a motion to set off the verdict.

Editor’s Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s and defense counsel. Additional information was gleaned from court documents.