Our Philadelphia partner, Glenn Ricketti, Esq., recently completed a successful mediation in a major case where our client’s large, industrial dump truck rear-ended a school bus in traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway in Philadelphia, PA. The case involved a claim by the bus driver plaintiff, who claimed that the impact caused numerous low back disc herniations, resulting in fusions at the L4– L5 and L5–S1 levels. Plaintiff claimed she was totally disabled and could not return to any type of employment. Her disability claim was supported by her physicians and her vocational expert. This resulted in past and future wage loss claims in excess of $1 million. Plaintiff’s experts also provide opinions that she would need additional medical care and surgeries with future medical and life care costs exceeding $750,000. This resulted in total economic damages that would go, “On the Board” in excess of $2 million.
When the case was transferred to Glenn from a prior attorney who had been representing the defendant, the settlement demand was $2.6 million. After receiving the file, Glenn retained a series of expert witnesses including an orthopedic surgeon, a neuroradiologist and vocational, lifecare and economic experts to counter the Plaintiff’s damages claims. He also retained a liability expert in the form of a biomechanical engineer who provided an excellent opinion indicating that the force of the rear-end collision would have only pushed the plaintiffs low back securely into the driver seat and could not have physically caused low back herniations. The biomechanical expert witness opinion was that the force of the rear-end collision was no more than the force exerted on the plaintiff back every time she plopped down into a chair. Despite the clear liability and economic specials in excess of $2.1 million the case was resolved for a fraction of that amount. At mediation, the case resolved for several hundred thousand dollars below the settlement authority. Thorough legal analysis by Glenn showed that need for expert witness retention, and continued communications with the experts throughout the expert witness process resulted in expert reports countering every aspect of the plaintiff’s liability and damages claims. There is no substitution for thorough preparation.