The plaintiff was a thirty-one year old school teacher who was walking on a sidewalk of a privately owned strip mall when the elderly defendant attempted to park her car in a diagonal parking space. The defendant negligently accelerated the car onto the sidewalk plowing the plaintiff through a plate glass window of a store.
As a result of the car accident, the plaintiff suffered a tibial plateau compression fracture, tears of three of the four major ligaments in her knee and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Initially, she underwent open reduction internal fixation surgery for repair of the tibial plateau compression fracture. She was hospitalized for nine days and then was an inpatient at a rehabilitation facility for two weeks. She then underwent rigorous physical therapy. Approximately one year later, she underwent surgery for removal of hardware. Two years post accident she underwent reconstructive surgery to repair the three torn ligaments followed by another round of physical therapy.
Prior to the car accident, plaintiff had an outstanding record as a teacher. In addition, she worked in the summer for public television as the science and math coordinator for a children’s television program. She was substantially unable to engage in her employment for approximately six months. She returned to both jobs using a cane for six months. Plaintiff returned to her pre-accident level of excellent performance through hard work and determination. She struggled with recurring nightmares and accident related anxiety on a decreasing level over time.
It is expected that the plaintiff will require knee replacement surgery within the next seven to ten years and probably a second knee replacement in the course of her lifetime.
Plaintiff’s medical bills at the time of the settlement were approximately $150,000.00 which resulted in a health insurance lien of $46,200. Plaintiff suffered no actual lost earnings. Her loss of earning capacity was approximately $50,000.00.
Plaintiff enjoyed skiing, rollerblading, and dancing prior to the car accident. It is unlikely that she will be able to engage in these activities as a result of ongoing difficulties with her leg. She is able to engage in other activities that she enjoys such as traveling, walking her dogs, working and caring for her child.
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