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Rear-ender allegedly resulted in permanent neck injury
Cook County Circuit Court
back; head; head-headaches; head-concussion; neck; other-chiropractic; other-massage therapy; other-physical therapy; other-epidural injections; neurological-neurological impairment (neuralgia); sensory/speech-vestibular deficits; mental/psychological-post-concussion syndrome; gastrointestinal/digestive-gastrointestinal complications (nausea)
Motor Vehicle – Rear-ender, Multiple Vehicle
Krystle Muntean v. AJF Wholesale Corp. and Ricardo Rubio,
March 16, 2018
Krystle Muntean (Female, 28 Years)
Sara M. Davis;
Whiting Law Group, Ltd.;
AJF Wholesale Corp.
Darren K. Angell;
Peterson, Johnson & Murray;
Ricardo Rubio, AJF Wholesale Corp.
State Farm Insurance Cos. for both defendants
On Nov. 23, 2013, plaintiff Krystle Muntean, 28, was stopped in her sedan while in traffic on Ashland Avenue near Augusta Boulevard, in Chicago. She was rear-ended by Ricardo Rubio, who was driving a car owned by AJF Wholesale Corp. Muntean claimed multiple injuries. Muntean sued Rubio and AJF, alleging that he was negligent in the operation of its vehicle. The defense stipulated to liability, and the case was tried on the issues of causation and damages.
Muntean was taken by ambulance to an emergency room where she was examined and released. In the following days, Muntean presented to her primary care physician with complaints of headaches, nausea, dizziness and neck and lower back pain. For the next couple of years, Muntean treated with physical therapy and chiropractic treatment, which include massage, spinal manipulation and exercise. She underwent MRIs and EMGs, all of which were normal, and she was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome, cervicalgia and occipital neuralgia. Muntean consulted with an orthopedic surgeon, who determined that she wasn’t a surgical candidate; a neurologist, who prescribed headache medications; and a pain management specialist, who administered a series of epidural and facet-block injections to her neck. At the time of trial, Muntean continued to consult with her pain management specialist and treat with pain medication. Muntean’s pain management specialist and expert in physical medicine causally related the injuries and treatment to the accident, and opined that her injuries are permanent. The physicians recommended future medical treatment, including additional injections, like Botox, to alleviate her headaches. They also recommended counseling to help her deal with the pain. She sought to recover $500,000 in future medical costs. Muntean testified that her ongoing headaches are debilitating, which cause her to lie down until they pass. She also alleged that her continuing neck pain makes it difficult caring for her young children, including lifting them and putting them in their car seats and cribs. She sought $500,000 for past pain and suffering, $500,000 for future pain and suffering, $500,000 for past loss of normal life and $500,000 for future loss of normal life. Rubio’s expert in neurosurgery, who performed a records review, testified that the only injury Muntean suffered was a neck sprain, which had resolved six to 12 weeks post-accident. Rubio’s counsel noted that Muntean’s expert in physical medicine estimated her future medical care at approximately $10,000 and that anything more than that would be speculative.
The jury rendered a plaintiff’s verdict, awarding $1.61 million.
Krystle Muntean: $510,000 Personal Injury: Future Medical Cost; $200,000 Personal Injury: Past Pain And Suffering; $350,000 Personal Injury: Future Pain And Suffering; $200,000 Personal Injury: past loss of normal life; $350,000 Personal Injury: future loss of normal life
Elizabeth M. Budzinski
The defense anticipates filing a motion for a new trial.
This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s and defense counsel.