An attorney for two men injured in a 2016 Waterbury car crash negotiated $477,500 in settlements for her clients.
Pamela Levin Cameron is the attorney for plaintiffs Richard Sidbury and Ernest Swain. She said the two Waterbury residents were stopped at a red light at an intersection when another motorist, driving his car in reverse from a parking spot, crashed into the back right side of the plaintiffs’ car.
Liability was not an issue since defense attorneys for Liberty Mutual agreed that Richard Shortell did drive a vehicle owned by Astro Electric in reverse striking the car driven by Sidbury. Swain, a longtime friend of Sidbury, was in the passenger seat. It’s not clear how fast Shortell was driving, said Cameron, a partner with Middlebury-based Moore, O’Brien & Foti. The police, she said, were not called at the time of the accident and, therefore, Shortell was not cited by police.
Following mediations with two judges, it was agreed that Swain, who was the most seriously injured party, would get $312,599 and Sidbury would receive $165,000. The settlement was finalized Nov. 14. The money should be disbursed by the end of the year, Cameron said. A lawsuit was filed in Waterbury Superior Court in June 2017.
“Given the entirety of cases, including both my clients prior injuries, I think it was a fair settlement,” Cameron said Wednesday.
Cameron said Swain, 60, had a surgical fusion to his neck and, to this day, still has pain associated with the accident. He also is being treated for lower back pain, Cameron said. Swain incurred $361,482 in medical expenses, most of which was paid by insurance, Cameron said.
Sidbury, 59, had surgery on his left shoulder and still has issues related to pain and range of motion, Cameron said. He has a 12 percent permanency rating for his left shoulder, Cameron said. In addition, Sidbury also suffers from neck pain, Cameron said. He incurred $70,520 in medical expenses, some of which was paid for by insurance, his attorney said.
Cameron said Waterbury Superior Court Judge Terry Zemetis helped initially mediate the case. The case was then resolved with Waterbury Superior Court Judge Andrew Roraback’s guidance, she said. Both judges played an important role in helping to resolve the case. Cameron said.
Initially, Cameron said, defense attorneys gave an offer of compromise of $77,500 for Sidbury and $175,000 for Swain. Cameron turned the offers down.
The defense was represented by Andrew Turret of Wallingford-based Meehan, Roberts, Turret & Rosenbaum. Turret did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
In court papers, the defense said a collision occurred, but left it to plaintiffs’ attorneys to prove their clients’ injuries.
Both plaintiffs work for a company that picks up donations from different police-related organizations.