Joe Petka Wins Spine Surgery Trial

Mr. Petka won a Chester County trial resulting from a 2013 car accident in West Chester.  Mr. Petka’s client, a 24-year-old woman, was sued after rear-ending a 68-year-old disabled veteran’s SUV. The plaintiff underwent spinal fusion surgery two years before the accident, and alleged that the accident had caused the fusion to become loose.  The plaintiff presented to his neurosurgeon the day after the accident and then began a course of treatment involving numerous injections and three courses of physical therapy over the next two years.  After his symptoms failed to resolve with conservative treatment, a revision surgery was performed in which the plaintiff had a complete lumbar decompression and reconstruction with pedicle screw instrumentation and transverse lumbar interbody cages implanted.  Both the plaintiff’s neurosurgeon and pain management specialist testified at trial.

For the defense, Mr. Petka argued that there was no evidence that the accident caused the original fusion to fail.  Specifically, he pointed to the fact that an MRI taken within a month of the accident did not show any disruption in the original fusion.  He also argued that the revision surgery would have occurred regardless of the accident, given the numerous possible causes for a fusion surgery to fail such as: smoking, diabetes, NSAIDs, arthritis, etc.  Moreover, Mr. Petka argued that the plaintiff simply did not have enough evidence to meet his burden of proof.

Ultimately, a jury of two men and 10 women agreed with Mr. Petka and found in favor of the defendant.