The plaintiff was a medical student at New York Medical College. She was a passenger in a motor vehicle owned and operated by her friend which was rear ended at the intersection of Scott Road and Plank Road in the City of Waterbury. The defendant, from Waterbury, told the investigating police officer that her shoe slipped off causing her to lose control of her motor vehicle. In essence, the defendant was negligent in that she failed to keep her motor vehicle under proper control. The impact was a low speed impact with modest crush damage.
The plaintiff suffered cervical strain, mild shoulder bursitis and a transient aggravation of a pre existing migraine headach disorder. Treatment consisted of chiropractic care, an orthopedic exam of the shoulder and a neurological exam with a Danbury neurologist. The plaintiff was assigned a seven percent impairment of the cervical spine under the 5th Edition of the AMA Guide.The impairment rating was performed by the plaintiff's chiropractic physician. There was no wage loss claimed but the personal injuries suffered by the plaintiff med student interfered with her medical school studies.
The defendant was insured by State Farm Insurance Company. State Farm Insurance Company tendered full policy limits of $25,000.00 upon receipt of the demand package sent by The Rotatori Law Firm. Attorney Peter Rotatori, III then made an underinsured motorist claim against Geico. Geico indemnified the owner/operator of the motor vehicle that the plaintiff was in as a passenger at the time of the rear end collision. The underinsured motorist carrier, Geico, then paid an additional $28,000.00. The total aggregate settlement was $58,000.00. There was no surgery undertaken on behalf of the injured plaintiff.
Under Connecticut underinsured motorist law, the plaintiff must exhaust all available owner/operator coverage against the defendant tortfeasor wrongdoer before he or she has a viable underinsured motorist claim. Under Connecticut statutory law, as reflected in all standard Connecticut underinsured motorist policy language, the hosting vehicle has the responsibility of insuring the primary underinsured motorist coverage where that coverage exceeds the coverage available to the defendant tortfeasor.
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