This action arose from an accident on Route 3. The defendant admittedly became distracted, and did not realize that that plaintiff had stopped for traffic, causing a rear-end accident. The plaintiff and the defendant were removed from the scene via ambulance. The plaintiff was treated at the emergency room for right knee pain. The plaintiff, next presented to her family doctor a week later who referred her to an orthopedic surgeon. After two failed courses of physical therapy, the plaintiff underwent a right knee medial and lateral meniscectomy. Her orthopedic surgeon testified at trial that she made only a 70% improvement following the surgery, and would have a permanent injury. The plaintiff was also diagnosed with a cervical disc herniation and carpal tunnel syndrome. She treated for these injuries with two additional courses of therapy and two epidural steroid injections. The plaintiff was still receiving therapy for her neck at the time of trial. The plaintiff had no prior history of similarly complaints.
After rejecting a significant offer, the case proceeded to trial. Mr. Petka argued that the claimed injuries were not from the accident at issue, and that the treatment was sought only for the purpose of litigation. With regard to the knee surgery, Mr. Petka pointed out that after her second course of physical therapy, the plaintiff did not have the surgery until a year and a half later, and only after filing the instant lawsuit. Moreover, plaintiff’s treatment intensified after filing suit. He also cross-examined the plaintiff with regard to the fact that she never took pain medication and currently walks for exercise, which was inconstant with ongoing knee injury.
With regard to the neck herniation and carpal tunnel syndrome, Mr. Petka argued that they were not related to the accident at issued by virtue of the fact that the plaintiff did not make these complaints until a month after the accident.