A Hartford Superior Court jury awarded $280,925 to a Massachusetts man who suffered head, neck, back and rib injuries after his car was T-boned.
It took the six-person jury four hours on Nov. 30 to come back with its verdict in favor of 60-year-old Kenneth Gilbert. The four-day trial featured dueling medical experts who disputed the injuries to Gilbert’s neck.
The crash occurred in May 2013 in Windsor Locks when Victoria Pietrzak made a left-hand turn to enter a restaurant when she struck the driver’s side of Gilbert’s vehicle. Both cars were totaled and Pietrzak, a New York resident, was given a warning for failure to grant the right of way. A lawsuit was filed in April 2015.
Scott Stewart, Gilbert’s Hartford-based attorney with McCoy & McCoy, said the jury heard from both Arpad Fejos, the doctor for the plaintiff, and Jonas Lieponis, a spinal surgery expert for the defense.
Lieponis told the jury that Gilbert’s neck herniation “was pre-existing and not caused by the accident,” Stewart said. “We disputed that. Our expert said it was traumatic and causally related to the accident.”
“He continues to have injuries to his neck that radiate to the upper right extremities,” Stewart said. “He has done a wide range of treatment to his neck since the accident.”
Treatment includes steroid injections to ease Gilbert’s pain and swelling, Stewart said.
Gilbert testified during trial, Stewart said. Pietrzak did not.
“My client testified to how the accident happened and how severe it was,” Stewart said. “He talked about how his neck injury has negatively affected his life.”
While Gilbert, who is an aircraft mechanic for Executive Jet, did not miss any work, Stewart said, “Any movements to his neck affect all activities of daily living,” he said.
Stewart used to be an insurance defense attorney for 15 years, including six and a half years with Allstate, who was Pietrzak’s carrier.
“It feels good to be putting my skills to use in fighting for the injured, rather than the insurance company,” Stewart said.
Stewart said the defense’s first and only offer was for $30,000. Stewart said Gilbert sought the full policy limit of $250,000.
David Yale of Simsbury-based Hassett & George, is representing the defense. Yale has not announced whether he plans to appeal. Yale did not respond to a request for comment.
In amended answers to the plaintiff’s complaint, the defense wrote that it had insufficient knowledge of any injuries sustained by Gilbert and leaves it up to the plaintiff to show proof of injuries.