verdicts and settlements
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Date of Verdict:

April 6.

Court and Case No.:

C.P. Philadelphia No. 160100005.

Judge:

Jacqueline F. Allen.

Type of Action:

Motor vehicle.

Injuries:

Back injuries.

Plaintiffs Counsel:

Mark H. Riesenfeld, Lundy Law, Philadelphia.

Defense Counsel:

Ashley R. Lynam, Bennett Bricklin & Saltzburg, Philadelphia.

Comment:

On Jan. 8, 2014, plaintiff Salim Geiger, a barber in his late 40s, was involved in a rear-end collision in South Philadelphia.

He had been stopped at a red light on Vare Avenue at its intersection with Tasker Avenue, when his sedan was struck from behind by a sport utility vehicle. He claimed back injuries.

Geiger sued the driver, Kristin McCabe, alleging negligence. (He also sued vehicle owner James McCabe, alleging negligent entrustment, but he was dismissed, prior to trial.)

Geiger was determined to receive $23,984.28, during court-mandated arbitration, which McCabe rejected. At trial, Geiger’s counsel faulted McCabe for failing to keep a proper lookout and for failing to maintain a safe distance behind Geiger’s car.

McCabe did not contest or stipulate to negligence.

The next day, Geiger, complaining of low-back pain, presented to an emergency room, where he was examined and released. Within a week, Geiger, with continued complaints, presented to his pain-management specialist, with whom he had been treating for years for a back condition (Geiger collected Social Security disability benefits for about 20 years, although he worked as a barber). He was put on a course of physical therapy (e.g., massage) and chiropractic care (spinal manipulation), which he treated with for six to nine months. He underwent an MRI, and was diagnosed with herniations and bulging at lumbar intervertebral discs L4-5 and L5-S1, and with an annular tear at L4-5. No further treatment was rendered, and Geiger sought to recover approximately $3,800 in medical expenses.

Geiger’s counsel cited his medical records to causally relate his injuries and treatment to the accident (the parties agreed to try the case pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 1311.1).

Geiger testified that standing for long periods causes him back pain, which prevents him from working as a barber. He sought damages for past and future pain and suffering.

McCabe’s counsel maintained that Geiger exhibited no symptoms of an injury at the scene of the accident, and that his treatment did not change following his MRI. Counsel also asserted that Geiger was in four prior vehicular accidents, which resulted in alleged neck and back injuries, as well as separate lawsuits. Geiger had first complained of back pain in 1994, McCabe’s counsel noted.

The jury found that McCabe was negligent, but that her negligence was not a factual cause of injury to Geiger.

This report is based on information that was provided by defense counsel. Plaintiff’s counsel did not respond to calls for comment.