$100,000.00 Full Liability Policy Settlement for a Head on Collision with a Drunk Driver

The plaintiff was seventeen years of age from Watertown, Connecticut. He was hit head on by a drunk driver who had been drinking at "The Hills" restaurant on Park Road in Waterbury, Connecticut. His frontal air bags to his mother's Honda Pilot were deployed. The defendant was a young woman from Wolcott, Connecticut who had been drinking at a Christmas party. She was operating a motor vehicle while heavily under the influence of intoxicating liquor. In addition to admitting that she had excessive amounts of alcohol to the investigating police officer, her blood alcohol content or "BAC" was two times over the legal limit.

The plaintiff sustained injuries to his cervical spine, lumbar spine and right hand. Initially, upon seeing his pediatrician the following day, the only reported injury was a right hand air bag deployment burn. The plaintiff minor then started to develop neck pain with periodic arm pain. Headaches eventually ensued. A cervical MRI was ordered within six months of the date of accident. This MRI noted a one level cervical disc protrusion. The plaintiff initially had chiropractic care with Dr. Steven Levy of Woodbury, Connecticut. After matriculating at college, the plaintiff started to develop radiating arm pain and headaches. This pain interfered with his collegiate studies as a theater major. A follow up MRI on the cervical spine was performed two years after the accident when the plaintiff returned home from college on semester break. This second MRI showed a second protruding disc at a new level.

Neurosurgeon Alan Waitze of NOSS causally related the second herniated disc to the motor vehicle accident. His medical opinion was that previous herniated disc finding at one level lead to increased load in the adjacent disc leading to a second herniated cervical disc. The plaintiff was assigned a 12% permanent partial impairment of the cervical spine by Dr. Waitze. Dr. Waitze also opined that during the course of the plaintiff's life, he would require corrective surgery to address the two herniated disc levels. He opined that one herniated disc level, the C3-C4, was leading to both neck pain and headaches.

Prior to suit, the automobile liability carrier offered $27,500.00 for a full and final resolution. This was rejected on advice of counsel. Demand was made on the automobile liability carrier by counsel for the full policy limits. The underlying automobile policy was tendered three and one half years after the head on collision.

An underinsured motorist claim is now pending on behalf of the plaintiff who is 21 years of age. The plaintiff was represented by Connecticut Top 100 Trial lawyer Peter Rotatori, Ill of The Rotatori Law Firm. The case was filed in the Waterbury Superior Court.


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