Our client was a 47-year old female passenger in a vehicle which was struck from behind by the defendant’s vehicle. This rear end collision left our client with debilitating thoracic outlet syndrome.
Our client’s orthopedic surgeon testified that the plaintiff suffered thoracic outlet syndrome and fibromyalgia as a result of the accident. Our client’s physician testified that diagnostic procedures, involving positioning of the arm in different positions and measuring the pulse rate, confirmed the plaintiff’s injury. Our client complained of continuing radiating pain and restriction of motion. Several surgeons reported that future surgery was indicated.
Our client’s orthopedic surgeon was prepared to testify that the thoracic outlet is a tunnel or passage for all of the nerves (brachial plexus) that go into the arm after they leave the spinal cord at the neck. According to the Baratta, Russell & Baratta’s (BRB) expert, when the tissue about the nerves is torn, or the muscle itself around the nerves is injured, inflammation ensues and a thicker adherent tissue may form, binding down the nerves of the plexus and resulting in symptoms such as pain, discomfort and disability.
Our client was employed as a surgical equipment sales representative at the time of the accident, a position which involved extensive driving. Our client has been employed in several different positions following the accident due to closure of one employer and other reasons unrelated to the accident. She alleged that although she continued to work, her symptoms were greatly reduced during the periods when she was not working.
BRB’s vocational expert opined that the plaintiff could not continue in the sales field much longer and BRB claimed a diminished future earning capacity as a result of the accident. BRB’s economist projected potential future earnings loss of $700,000 to $800,000 over the remainder of the plaintiff’s work life.
The defendant’s neurosurgeon concurred that our client suffered from thoracic outlet syndrome. However, the defendant’s expert opined that the plaintiff could be treated conservatively without the necessity for future surgery. The defendant’s expert also opined that with time, our client symptoms would abate. The defendant denied that our client sustained a diminished earning capacity as a result of the accident.
Result : The case settled prior to trial for $400,000
Attorney : Anthony J. Baratta of Baratta, Russell & Baratta