This was a head-on collision caused when defendant, 79, leaned down to fix her shoe. He crossed the center line and hit plaintiff, causing substantial property damage to both vehicles. Defendant admitted liability and withdrew all of her affirmative defenses prior to trial.
At the time of trial, plaintiff was fairly active, playing tennis and traveling overseas.
Plaintiff, 51, suffered fracture dislocations of several metatarsals (foot bones) and, after 18 months of conservative treatment, underwent surgery for placement of three metal screws to achieve a fusion of her foot. She has a 30 percent permanent partial disability of her foot. She also suffered a knee injury and a facial burn (from the airbag), both of which resolved within a matter of weeks. She still has persistent pain in her foot from traumatic arthritis, and she wears orthotics to relieve the pain. She also takes anti-arthritis medication and likely will do so for the rest of her life.
Since defendant was a widow and owned her own home with substantial equity, plaintiff offered to settle the case for defendant’s policy limits of $100,000. That offer was conditioned on acceptance before defendant’s expert witness designation was due.
Allstate made a $50,000 “take it or leave it” offer. Defendant’s expert fully agreed with all of plaintiff’s treatment, the nature and extent of her injuries and the assessment of the permanent disability. Allstate never increased its offer. The underinsured motorist carrier (USAA) refused to get involved in negotiations because Allstate never made a policy limits offer.
Plaintiff called Mark Myerson, M.D. of Baltimore, who had performed the surgery. He testified by videotape. Defendant used Robert Nirschl, M.D., who actually (because the case had been nonsuited earlier) did two defense examinations. He examined plaintiff both before and after her surgery. He filed two reports strongly supportive of plaintiff, both of which were admitted into evidence at the trial.
$160,000 for accident causing broken bones in foot and surgery