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Car Accidents - Verdicts & Settlements

PENNSYLVANIA LAW WEEKLY
Volume XXIII, Number 43
Copyright 2000 by American Lawyer Media, ALM LLC

October 23, 2000

Verdicts and Settlements

$600,000 SETTLEMENT IN HERNIATED DISK CASE

BURKHART V. ERIE INSURANCE EXCHANGE $600,000 SETTLEMENT

Date of Verdict or Settlement: N/A
Court and Case Number: N/A
Judge: N/A
Type of Action: Underinsured motorist arbitration.
Injuries: Left C6-7 disk herniation and C5-6 protrusion.
Plaintiff(s) Attorney(s): Michelle N. Quinn, Hourigan Kluger & Quinn, Wilkes-Barre.
Defense Attorney(s) : N/A
Plaintiff(s) Expert(s): Albert Janerich, M.D.; Andrew Verzilli, Ph.D.; Patricia Chilleri, M.S.
Defense Expert(s) : N/A

Comments:

Marlene Burkhart, a 51-year-old clerk and stenographer for the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, was injured when the third-party tortfeasor struck the rear quarter panel of her vehicle while attempting to switch lanes on June 9, 1997 in Kingston, Pennsylvania.

At the scene of the accident, Burkhart said she believed she was "merely shaken" and refused medical treatment. When she returned to work the following week, Burkhart developed increased cervical discomfort and was examined by her family physician. Burkhart was referred to an orthopedic consultation. A cervical MRI revealed a left C6-7 disk herniation and a C5-6 cervical protrusion. Although advised to undergo a cervical diskectomy, Burkhart elected to continue conservative treatment in the form of physical therapy and trigger-point injections.

Burkhart attempted to return to work on two separate occasions during the summer of 1997. She received sick pay and first-party lost income benefits for seven months. Burkhart then returned to work on a part-time basis for approximately one year prior to accepting early retirement in March 1999. Burkhart settled her third-party action against Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. for $100,000 and then proceeded with a UIM claim against Erie Insurance Exchange. Erie has now tendered its $600,000 policy limits with respect to Burkhart s policy and Burkhart is pursuing a second layer of UIM coverage in the amount of $300,000.

PLEASE NOTE: Every case is fact specific, and these results do not guaranty the same results will be obtained in a different case.