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PENNSYLVANIA LAW WEEKLY

Defendant Tenders $1.5M Policy Limit After Motorcycle Crash

Dretzel v. Hudacek
$1.525 Million Settlement

Date of Settlement:
June 15, 2007.

Court and Case No.:
C.P. Luzerne No. 12377-C of 2006.

Judge:
Michael T. Conahan.

Type of Settlement:
Motor Vehicle Crash.

Injuries:
Open fracture of right distal tibia and fibula, scarring, possible fracture of calcaneus, post-traumatic stress disorder, exacerbation of depression.

Plaintiffs' Attorneys:
Joseph A. Quinn Jr., Michelle M. Quinn, Hourigan Kluger, & Quinn, Kingston, PA.

Plaintiffs' Experts:
Richard Fischbein, M.D., psychiatry, Kingston, PA; Kenneth Gentilezza, M.D., psychiatry, Scranton, PA; Walter P. Kilareski, engineering consultant, State College, PA; Scot R. McKenna, M.D., reconstructive surgeon, Dunmore, PA; Michael D. Pope, collision analysis, Indianapolis; Andrew C. Verzilli, economist, Landsdale, PA.

Defense Counsel:
Zygmunt Bialkowski Jr., Margolis Edelstein, Scranton, PA.

Defense Experts:
Marc Scinico, M.D., phsyiatrist, Wilkes-Barre, PA; William E. Walker, vocational counselor, Fleetville, PA.

Comments:
Joseph George Dretzel was riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle with his 15-year-old stepson Julian Rasmovicz as a passenger.

While Dretzel's vehicle was traveling on Main Street in Plymouth, PA, the defendant, Michael J. Hudacek Jr., pulled out of a driveway and struck the motorcycle. Both Dretzel and Rasmovicz were thrown from the motorcycle and suffered injuries.

Dretzel suffered open fractures of the right distal tibia and fibula, which resulted in the scarring of his lower leg. Rasmovicz suffered a possilbe Salter-Harris fracture of the medial malleolar area of the calcaneus, the largest bone in the foot.

As a result of his injuries, Dretzel was unable to return to his job at an electrical supply company until March 19 and then only on trial basis, plaintiffs's council said. Dretzel's injuries left him with a limited ability to walk, lift, squat, and sit for extended periods.

After the crash, Rasmovicz called his mother, Rikki Dretzel, at home and asker her to come to the scene of the crash. He did not tell his mother that he or Joseph Dretzel had sustained injuries.

Rikki Dretzel arrived at the scene to find her husband lying on the ground with an obvious lower extremity injury. She claimed negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Defense counsel filed a motion to dismiss regarding Nikki Dretzel's claim that was denied. A settlement conference yielded an agreement under which the defendant tendered $1.425 million of his $1.5 million policy limit.

Of that amount, $1.25 million was attributed to Joseph Dretzel's injury claim and his wife's loss of consortium claim. The remaining $175,000 was attributed to Rikki Dretzel's negligent infliction of emotional distress claim and her claim as Rasmovicz's parent and natural guardian.

After the third party claim was settled, the plaintiffs' UIM carrier, GEICO Indemnity Insurance Co., its $50,000/$100,000 policy limit to settle Joseph Dretzel's claim, Rikki Dretzel's loss of consortium claim, her negligent infliction claim, and the claim regarding Rasmovicz's injury.

The total amount the plaintiffs' received is $1.525 million.

Plaintiffs' counsel are pursuing a second layer of underinsured motorist coverage through Progressive Direct Insurance Co., from the family's automobile policy.