201401.22
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Claim for Back Seat Passenger Injured in Rear End Accident Resolved in Court

A 71-year old woman has resolved her claim for a back seat passenger injured in a rear end accident after a hearing at the Superior Court of Riverside County.

Soledad DeSantiago was a back seat passenger in a car hit from behind as it was approaching a red light at the intersection of Van Buren Boulevard and Village W Drive in Riverside.

According to court papers, the accident occurred on 10 January 2011, when driver Bryan Montano failed to be attentive to the slowing traffic, and drove his tow-truck into the vehicle in which Soledad was traveling.

Soledad was taken to hospital by ambulance; where she was treated for soft-tissue injuries and given an MRI. The MRI revealed a bulging cervical disc and cervical radiculopathy, for which she underwent a decompression operation which was followed by several months of physiotherapy.

Soledad made a compensation claim for a back seat passenger injured in a rear end accident against Montano and the joint owners of the tow-truck – Armada Trucking and American Towing Service Inc. – alleging that Montano was driving negligently and that the owners of the truck were vicariously liable as Montano was employed by them.

The three defendants acknowledged their liability for Soledad´s injuries on the opening day of the subsequent hearing at the Superior Court of Riverside County, but contested the amount of compensation that was being claimed by Soledad´s legal representatives.

They produced evidence that Soledad had a pre-existing neck condition prior to the accident and that she would have had to have undergone surgery and physiotherapy within five years even if the rear-end accident had not happened.

The hearing was dominated by legal and medical arguments for five days, after which the jury deliberated for a further two days before awarding Soledad $735,536 in resolution of her compensation claim for a back seat passenger injured in a rear end accident to account for her past and future pain and suffering, the medical bills she has already incurred, and those she will incur in the future.