A Jackson County woman who was injured when a pizza delivery driver rear- ended her car has received a $750,000 settlement.

The woman, who was not identified by her attorney, was driving at about 35 mph when she was struck by the pizza delivery driver at the intersection of 39th Street and Crackerneck Road in Independence. Police were not called to the scene because damage appeared to be minor and injuries were not apparent when the collision occurred in March 2015,   according to a submission from the plaintiff’s attorney, Brian McCart.

The delivery driver had finished delivering his pizza and was returning to the restaurant when the accident occurred. There was no evidence that the driver had been advised by his employer to get back quickly, McCart said.

The day after the crash, the plaintiff, 40, went to an emergency room complaining of soreness in her lower back, according to her attorneys. For several months, she sought conservative chiropractic treatment, but the pain did not subside. She sought other forms of treatment such as physical therapy and injections before consulting with a surgeon a year after the crash. The surgeon ordered an MRI and recommended surgery.

“We faced a significant challenge with what was being surgically re- paired and what the MRI showed, because none of it was consistent with an acute injury sustained in the auto accident,” McCart said.

The surgeon testified that the plaintiff had pre- existing conditions in her back, but these only be- came problematic due to the collision, McCart said.

The surgery provided some relief, but the plain- tiff continued to experience pain radiating down her leg. Despite the pain, the surgeon concluded that no further surgery was warranted.

The plaintiff incurred $70,000 in medical bills and $9,000 in lost wages.

The case settled at mediation a month before the trial, scheduled for July. The case settled for a total of $750,000 from the owner of the pizza franchise and the driver, which was covered by the franchise’s insurance.

“In the end, the plain- tiff ’s injuries and pain were almost entirely subjective,” McCart said. “Our client was a hard- working woman who presented as a likeable and honest witness. A case like this is made or broken by the quality of the plaintiff, and we had a good one.” Russell Peterson of Wallace Saunders in Overland Park, Kansas, was listed as representing the defendants. He declined to comment.

By Rachel Webb of Missouri Lawyers Weekly rwebb@molawyersmedia.com

 

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