Attorneys for a New York woman who suffered serious neck and spine injuries following a rear-end collision in Fairfield in 2014 have settled the case for $1 million.
Kristen Dykeman, 45, was diagnosed with a chronic pain condition known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, according to her attorney Joseph Barnes. The syndrome is known for spreading to otherwise unaffected body parts. In the case of Dykeman, Barnes said, she had constant pain in her right arm and shoulder.
Dykeman was driving her Nissan SUV in June of 2014 when she was hit by a Chevy pickup truck driven by 43-year-old Timothy Olender, according to a Barnes. Dykeman’s vehicle then struck a third vehicle, Barnes said. A lawsuit was filed in Bridgeport Superior Court in January 2016.
Dykeman underwent an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery in February 2015. The surgery entailed removing a disc. Barnes said Olender’s attorneys argued that Dykeman had sustained injuries in four prior car accidents that contributed to her condition. Barnes said Dykeman had not been cited in any of the accidents, but one had also resulted in the surgical removal of a spinal disc.
Barnes, a member of The Reardon Law Firm in New London, said he offered a $950,000 settlement to Olender’s attorneys in March. That offer was turned down. The defendant’s attorneys ultimately agreed on the $1 million settlement in mediation Sept. 15. They agreed on the higher settlement, Barnes said, because during the interim, written reports by two doctors were submitted. In addition, Dykeman was seen by Olender’s medical doctors. The check was received Friday.
“They deposed my client and agreed, after they met her, that she was a very credible person who was going through terrible and severe life-altering injuries.” Barnes said Wednesday.
Barnes said two doctors concurred in written testimony that Dykeman’s injuries were from the accident with Olender. Charla Fischer, an orthopedic surgeon affiliated with New York University, and George Christolias, a pain management specialist focusing on rehabilitation in New York City, submitted testimony.
Dykeman has incurred $215,000 in medical bills, according to her attorney.
Barnes said Olender testified he had been traveling at the posted 25 mph speed limit in a school zone. “He said his issue was he was carrying too much equipment,” Barnes said. Olender had been towing a flatbed carrying landscaping equipment. He was cited for following too closely, Barnes said.
Dykeman testified she has not worked since the accident. She had performed administrative work for a restoration and construction company in Stratford.
The settlement was paid via State Farm Insurance, Olender’s insurance carrier.
Olender was represented by Brian Frank of Penino & Moynihan in Weston. Frank did not respond to a request for comment.