In the fall of 2016, the plaintiff was operating her employer’s compact SUV on Longmeadow Road, near its intersection with Hunter Hill Drive in Hagerstown, Maryland. She had fully braked her vehicle due to stopped traffic ahead and was rear-ended at approximately 30-35 mph. The plaintiff claimed the accident aggravated a pre-existing condition in her lower back. She additionally claimed new whiplash and cervicalgia in her neck. She was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, cervicalgia, occipital neuritis, post-traumatic headaches, vision issues, and PTSD. She underwent chiropractic care, cervical neck injections and ablation procedures, an occipital nerve release procedure, physical therapy, vestibular therapy, and psychiatric counseling for PTSD. She was prescribed multiple medications over the course of 4 years and her injuries prevented her from resuming employment or driving a car.
Liability for the accident was not in dispute. The at-fault driver tendered her $30,000 insurance policy. The plaintiff sued her insurance company, The Hartford, for underinsured-motorist benefits. The UIM insurer claimed the accident was a minor one and that the plaintiff had previously treated with a chiropractor for neck and back pain and had reported headaches. The insurer fought providing requested discovery, with appeals running through the Court of Special Appeals and Court of Appeals. Plaintiff's counsel prevailed and the insurer turned over the requested documents.
At trial, in May of 2022, plaintiff's chiropractor testified that prior to the crash, she treated only a few times a month and was far more functional. Her treating neurologist testified to her post-crash medical diagnoses, treatments, and MRI results. A life care plan was presented which detailed her future needed medical treatment and counseling. We also had located a witness to the collision, who substantiated that the crash had been a hard impact. Detailed background research also allowed us to discredit several experts that the defense hired, such that they chose not to call them to trial. We located a witness to the collision, who substantiated that the crash had been a hard impact. Prior to closing arguements, the insurer offered $117,000 to settle the case. Plaintiff rejected the offer and, following closing arguments, the jury awarded past and future medical expenses, past and future loss of earnings, and non-economic damages for a total award of $2,213,475.85. Plaintiff's attorney was Bruce Poole.