Date of Verdict:
Nov. 2, 2016.
Court and Case No.:
C.P. Delaware County No. 2015-000146.
Spiros E. Angelos.
Type of Action:
Lower back strain, sprain, neck sprain.
Justin K. Youkey, Spear, Greenfield, Richman & Weitz, Philadelphia.
James D. Palmer, Palmer & Barr, Willow Grove.
Mark Allen, orthopedic surgery, Lansdowne.
Jeffrey Malumed, orthopedic surgery, Ridley Park.
On Nov. 22, 2013, plaintiff Timothy Vanbeverhoudt, a security officer in his mid-40s, was rear-ended while stopped at a traffic light on Baltimore Pike (Route 322) at Conchester Avenue, in Concordville. He had been driving a Mercury Mountaineer sport utility vehicle when it was struck by a Chevrolet Cavalier sedan. He claimed neck and back injuries that resulted in a serious impairment of a bodily function.
Vanbeverhoudt sued the driver, Matthew Sciotti, alleging that he was negligent in the operation of the vehicle. He also sued the car’s owners (Alfred and Joanne Sciotti), who were later dismissed.
Sciotti stipulated to negligence, and the case went to trial on issues of causation and damages.
That day, Vanbeverhoudt, complaining of neck and low-back pain, presented to an emergency room, where he was examined and released.
Within days of the accident, Vanbeverhoudt presented to a rehabilitation facility, where he underwent about eight months of chiropractic care (e.g., spinal manipulation) and physical therapy (e.g., massage treatment). MRIs of the neck and back allegedly showed a herniation at cervical intervertebral disc C5-6 and bugling in his lumbar spine. No further treatment was rendered.
Vanbeverhoudt’s orthopedic surgeon causally related his injuries and treatment to the accident, opining that he could need future treatment. The physician concluded that had he suffered a serious impairment of a bodily function.
Vanbeverhoudt testified that he continues to experience neck and back pain which interferes with activities of daily living. He sought damages for past and future pain and suffering.
Sciotti’s counsel noted that Vanbeverhoudt sought medical attention at the recommendation of his attorney.
Sciotti’s expert in orthopedic surgery, who examined Vanbeverhoudt, concluded that any injury he sustained was soft-tissue in nature and would have resolved within weeks of the accident.
The jury found that Sciotti’s negligence was a factual cause of harm to Vanbeverhoudt, but that he did not sustain a serious impairment of a bodily function.
This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiffs and defense counsel.