In November 2007 at approximately 9:30 a.m. WM was traveling southbound on 61st Avenue NE in Kenmore, Washington. As she proceeded through the intersection of 61st Avenue NE and NE 181st Street, she was unexpectedly cut off by VS, who had attempted to make a left hand turn onto 181st Street, but failed to yield to oncoming traffic. WM attempted to brake, but essentially was left with no time to react and the two vehicles struck nearly head on. Kenmore Police Department responded to the scene and upon investigation cited VS for “fail to yield”. (See Exhibit 1 – Accident Report & Property Damage Photos)
Substantial damage was done to the front of WM’s vehicle. Her vehicle was declared a “total loss” by the insurance company.
Washington law provides that the drivers on the road have the duty to exercise ordinary care and avoid causing a collision. See RCW 46.61.445 and Washington Pattern Jury Instruction (WPI) 70.01. VS was negligent when she failed to be attentive while driving a vehicle, watch for traffic ahead, drive responsibly, and otherwise obey the rules of the road. WM did nothing to contribute to the cause of the crash and could do nothing to avoid the collision. As a direct result of VS’s negligence, WM sustained injuries to her neck, back, shoulders/arms, and associated body structures.
A summary of her injuries and treatment are outlined below.
- Cervical strain/sprain with in tenderness, pain, muscle spasms, and limited range of motion. Whiplash injury with resultant ligamentous instability, acceleration of spinal disc disease, and radicular symptoms into arms
- Back strain/sprain with tenderness, pain, muscle spasms, soreness, tightness, and decreased range of motion (thoracic and lumbar regions) with resultant ligamentous instability and acceleration of spinal disc disease.
- Shoulder strain with pain, tenderness, muscle spasms, and decreased strength in arms
- Contusion to thumb from impact with steering wheel during collision; resultant pain, swelling, discomfort and decreased range of motion
- Sleep disturbances/fatigue
WM has experienced, and continues to experience, a significant loss of enjoyment of life. She was fairly healthy before the collision and since then has not as active as she was before. She must perform exercises at home on a regular basis just to manage/maintain her symptomsand avoid flare ups. Her return to recreational activities has been slow and guarded for fear of re-injury.