Tonya Dize v. James McDaniel, John Casper and Elite Tank lines Inc.
Type of action: Personal injury/automobile accident
Injuries alleged: Soft issue neck injury with aggravation of a pre-existing degenerative condition in her cervical spine. Cervical discectomy and fusion.
Name of case: Tonya Dize v. James McDaniel, John Casper and Elite Tank lines Inc.
Court: Accomack Circuit Court
Case no.: CL15-259
Name of mediator: Judge Thomas Shadrick (Ret.)
Date resolved: March 20, 2017
Special damages: $68,000 medical bills
Verdict or settlement: Settlement
Attorneys for plaintiff: George T. Albiston and Lawrence Land, Norfolk
Attorneys for defendant: Heather Bardot and James Shannon, Richmond
Plaintiff’s experts: Dr. Jonathon Partington. Neurosurgeon and Dr. Robert Paschall, Neurologist
Defendant’s experts: Dr. Richard McAdam, Neurosurgeon
Insurance carrier: Federated Insurance Co., Brethren Mutual Ins.
Plaintiff was driving south on US-13 on the Eastern Shore just after dusk. The defendant, John Casper, was operating a tractor-trailer tank truck leaving a customer and attempting to turn north onto US-13. Casper pulled across the southbound lanes blocking them completely and stopped to wait for oncoming northbound traffic. The tanker was dark green in color with only two small one-inch lights on the side. Two vehicles traveling ahead of the plaintiff did not see the truck in time to avoid a collision striking the tractor-trailer.
Plaintiff was able to bring her vehicle to a stop without incident and within seconds was struck in the rear by the co-defendant James McDaniel. Defendant trucking company argued they were not a proximate cause of the accident. Plaintiff suffered injury to her neck, was seen at the hospital and by neurologist Dr. Paschall and diagnosed with a cervical strain and was advised to treat it conservatively. The plaintiff had no other care until July 2014 when she saw a chiropractor and had reported she had been asymptomatic for some time and had a recurrence of her neck pain. She then began to develop some radicular pain and was eventually referred to neurosurgeon Dr. Partington who performed a diskectomy and fusion in March 2015. Partington would have opined that she had both a disk injury and aggravation of prior degenerative conditions. The defense expert, Dr. McAdam, saw the plaintiff for a Rule 4:10 exam and opined that the plaintiff suffered a cervical spine sprain which resolved within weeks and that her surgery was unrelated to the accident. He opined that the surgery was done to correct her pre-existing degenerative disc disease.