A 35-year-old Stratford man who suffered spinal injuries after another motorist rear-ended his car on Interstate 95 in Fairfield in 2016 has settled his case for $741,000.
According to the October 2017 lawsuit filed in Bridgeport Superior Court, Antonio Sodaro’s Subaru Forrester rear-ended Acacio Vaz’s Ford Fusion, which then read-ended Christopher Colon’s white GMC van.
The cars were stopped for traffic on the highway, according to the lawsuit.
Colon, who severely injured his spine in the accident, sued Sodaro and Deux Femmes Decorative Art and Design. Sodaro was driving a company vehicle at the time of the crash. Sodaro was given an infraction for following too closely, according to police reports. The other drivers were not cited.
According to Michael Rosnick, Colon’s Bridgeport-based attorney, his client, who was wearing a seat belt, suffered a lumbar spine and a thoracic spine injuries that required a laminectomy to enlarge the spinal cord and relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Colon also suffered upper- and lower-back pain, neck pain and has a 20 percent permanent partial disability to his lumbar spine as a result of the accident, said Rosnick, a partner with Miller, Rosnick, D’Amico, August & Butler.
Rosnick said the two sides had two mediation sessions with mediator Michael Riley of Pullman & Comley.
“While Mr. Riley was very helpful, we did not resolve the issue during the mediation sessions,” Rosnick said Monday. “It took numerous phone conversations after the mediation session and just short of trial to resolve the case.”
Rosnick said the defense’s first offer was for $85,000. Rosnick said he originally sought the full automobile policy of $1 million. The two sides settled May 21 and the lawsuit was withdrawn from court May 28. The settlement was paid via The Main Street America Group, the insurance carrier for Deux Femmes Decorative Art and Design.
A laborer, Colon still has back pain “but is working and has learned to live with the pain,” Rosnick said. Colon has incurred more than $200,000 in medical expenses, his attorney said. Colon missed a short period of time from work following the laminectomy procedure, Rosnick said.
Representing Sodaro and his employer is attorney Paul Rainville of Hartford-based Hassett & Donnelly. Rainville did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
But in court papers, Rainville maintained Colon was negligent for the accident. In fact, the defense claims that when compared to the defendants, “it exceeds the negligence of the defendants, if any.”
The court filings allege Colon was inattentive to his surroundings, failed to make proper and reasonable use of his senses and faculties, and failed to take reasonable care to ensure his own safety, commensurate with existing conditions on the highway.