A Connecticut Superior Court judge has ruled that a Guilford woman is entitled to $230,364 for injuries sustained in a car accident that occurred in Woodbridge in 2012.
The ruling, finalized June 7, compensates 60-year-old Linda Piscitelli-Hunsaker for back and neck injuries following the crash, in which her Toyota Rav4 was rear-ended by a car driven by Max Reichbart. Riechbart was issued tickets for following too closely and failure to drive on the right.
Piscitelli-Hunsaker’s attorney, Pam Cameron, claimed the case has taken more than five years to settle due to delays with her client’s insurance company, Kemper Independence Insurance Co. An amended lawsuit was filed in November 2016.
Cameron, a partner with Moore, O’Brien & Foti in Middlebury, said her client had already received a $100,000 policy limit from Reichbart’s carrier, Liberty Mutual Insurance. Citing Piscitelli-Hunsaker’s complaints of back and neck pain, and at least three visits to the emergency room due to vertigo, Cameron said she believed her client deserved more than Reichbart’s $100,000 policy.
“We brought an underinsured motorist case against Kemper, but their attorney tried to argue that we did not prove the underlying policy was not exhausted. They were arguing there was money available in Reichbart’s household with other insurance policies. That held everything up for more than year,” Cameron said Thursday. “Everything came to fruition nearly six years later because things got delayed.”
Ed Gasser of the Gasser Law Firm in Avon represented Kemper. Gasser declined to comment Thursday.
New Haven Superior Court Judge Steven Ecker ruled in favor of the plaintiffs on the issue of the underlying policy not being exhausted. Both sides then agreed to a bench trial in Litchfield Superior Court in front of Judge John Moore.
A one-day trial was held in February with Piscitelli-Hunsaker as the sole witness. Following several motions, Moore issued his final decision earlier this month.
“I think the impact of her testimony was strong,” said Cameron, who noted that her client had sustained a prior neck and head injury from when a gate from a parking garage hit her in the head. “She did an excellent job in distinguishing the injuries from both accidents. She was able to show how the vertigo episodes and the fear of vertigo episodes had a major impact on her life.” The judge also heard that the doctor had given the opinion that her vertigo was directly related to the car accident, Cameron said.
Piscitelli-Hunsaker “had mostly back and neck injuries due to the accident,” Cameron added. “The pain in her neck would go up her neck and cause headaches and vertigo. She’d become extremely dizzy because of it.” The plaintiff has received numerous treatments to ease the pain, her attorney said.
In addition to the $100,000 from Liberty Mututal, Kemper was ordered to pay about $130,364, subtracting $10,000 for medical payments. Under the policy, Kemper covered the first $10,000 of medical bills incurred by Piscitelli-Hunsaker, and that amount was subtracted from the total award.
Piscitelli-Hunsaker reported a total of $76,689 in medical expenses.
“My client is pleased that this six-year odyssey is finally over,” Cameron said. “She’s finally been compensated by her own insurance company for her injuries.”
Attorney Joseph Rossetti assisted Cameron in the proceedings.