Joe Petka Wins Philadelphia UIM Trial

Mr. Petka represented a UIM carrier sued by its insured for UIM benefits. The plaintiff, a 48-year-old SAS Programmer and mother of one, alleged a pinched nerve in her neck after an out-of-control vehicle repeatedly struck her vehicle while she was stopped at a gas station.

The plaintiff presented to her family doctor within days of the accident and was referred for physical therapy, which she received over the course of six months. She then went on to receive a series of two facet injections into her cervical spine. The plaintiff testified that she continued to experience severe neck pain and numbness in her right hand and at times could not use her hand. The plaintiff’s expert testified that her injuries were permanent and debilitating.

The plaintiff’s UIM policy required her to prove that she suffered a “serious impairment of body function” to recover damages. Mr. Petka argued that the evidence did not support the finding of a serious impairment because plaintiff did not miss any time from work and went on at least five vacations following the accident.

Ultimately, the jury agreed with Mr. Petka and entered a defense verdict in favor of the UIM carrier.