A Barkhamsted woman who suffered serious injuries to her right foot and left shoulder after the Honda CRV she was driving was rear-ended by another vehicle in Hartford three years ago has won an arbitration award of nearly $200,000.
Arbitrator Herb Shepardson, a partner with Hartford-based Cooney Scully and Dowling, awarded Tracy Michaud $194,649 on Tuesday. In a lawsuit filed in New London Superior Court, Michaud claimed she was slowing down for a traffic signal near the intersection of Homestead Avenue and Burton Street when she was hit by a Chevy Equinox owned by East Lyme Police Cadets and driven by employee Mark Hallbauer.
The police report doesn’t specify the speed at which Hallbauer was driving, though officers gave Hallbauer a verbal warning for traveling too fast for conditions, as the road was wet. The speed limit at the intersection on the northwest side of Hartford was 25 miles per hour.
Michaud’s attorney, Andrew Groher, a partner with Hartford-based RisCassi & Davis, said the main injuries his 46-year-old client suffered were a partial tear of the rotator cuff on the left shoulder, a soft-tissue injury to her neck and a low-grade partial tear of the tendon that runs across the top of her right foot. Michaud did not undergo surgery, Groher said, but did receive injections to both her left shoulder and right foot.
The injection to her left shoulder improved her condition slightly, Groher said, However, “she received two injections in her right foot, which did not help her. Her physician said it’s more than likely that she will need surgery to that foot,” he said.
Michaud, who incurred more than $32,000 in medical-related expenses, can no longer wear regular shoes or sneakers, her attorney said. She currently wears a specially designed walking boot when she walks. “She is in a lot of pain when she walks and drives,” Groher added.
The two sides tried negotiations and mediation without success before going to an arbitrator. Groher noted the defense’s highest offer was $120,000, while he was looking in the $200,000 range.
The arbitration took about three hours, and Shepardson emailed his decision to both parties this week. The money will be paid via Progressive Insurance, the carrier for Niantic-based East Lyme Police Cadets.
Hallbauer was represented by Mark Sheehan of Meriden-based Aldrich, Hanks & Sheehan. Sheehan did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
In court papers, the defense said it had insufficient knowledge of the injuries Michaud sustained, and said it would be up to plaintiff’s counsel to prove them.