In May 2005 at approximately 8:00 p.m. JM was traveling southbound on Bellevue Way in Bellevue, Washington when she was unexpectedly struck on her left side by TW, who attempted to change lanes. JM became aware of the approaching vehicle when it began to cross the dividing line, at which time she hit her breaks and sounded her horn, but with no success. She attempted to move over as far as possible to avoid the collision, but hit the sidewalk. The collision pushed JM further onto the sidewalk. Bellevue Police Department responded to the scene and upon investigation cited TW for “unsafe lane change”. (See Exhibit 1)
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. TW was negligent when he failed to observe traffic and yield before making a lane change. He also failed to operate his vehicle in a safe manner. Our client did nothing to contribute to the cause of the crash and could do nothing to avoid the collision. As a direct result of TW’s negligence, JM sustained injuries to her neck, shoulder/arm, back, and associated body structures.
A summary of her injuries and treatment are outlined below.
- Cervical strain/sprain and spinal subluxations with tenderness, pain, muscle spasms, and limited range of motion. Whiplash injury resulting in radicular symptoms, acceleration of spinal disc disease and ligamentous instability.
- Back strain/sprain and spinal subluxations with tenderness, pain, muscle spasms, and limited range of motion (thoracic and lumbar regions). Resultant acceleration of spinal disc disease and ligamentous instability.
- Shoulder strain (left) with pain, tenderness, limited range of motion and
- Sleep disturbances/fatigue
JM is a 38 year old woman who enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Hobbies include sporting competitions every week, house remodeling on the weekends, clay/pottery artwork throughout the week, and being active outdoors.
JM has experienced, and continues to experience, a significant loss of enjoyment of life. She was healthy before the collision and since then is not as active as she was before.
Working and interacting with her family and friends became extremely painful and impossible at times. Other recreational activities and regular routines were placed on hold while she struggled through her recovery. When returning to these activities, JM has acted with caution in an effort not to aggravate any of her injuries/symptoms.