January 25, 2022. Partner Nik Makarenko won a defense verdict in a case that was tried to a jury in the Superior Court of Cobb County before Judge Allison Barnes Salter. The suit arose from a motor vehicle collision that occurred on December 21, 2017 when the Defendant was traveling on SR 400 at its intersection with I-285 in Sandy Springs, Fulton County. She was driving in stop-and-go traffic when she rear-ended the a Honda Odyssey in which the Plaintiff was a front-seat passenger. The damage to the vehicles was moderate. The plaintiff complained of head, neck and back pain at the scene and was evaluated by paramedics but declined ambulance transport to the hospital.
Plaintiff reported to the ER at Piedmont Hospital on the night of the accident reported brief loss of consciousness and was diagnosed with cervical sprain, and low back pain. 18 days later she presented to an orthopedist who referred her for chiropractic treatment and ordered MRI scans of her cervical and lumbar spine. She underwent the chiropractic treatment for 5 months . The MRI results revealed bulges in her lumbar and cervical spine. She then underwent cervical facet injections and treated with a neurologist for scalp and facial pain. The medical damages were approximately $38,000.
At trial, Plaintiff presented medical testimony by way of a narrative from Dr. Rosen at Ortho Sport & Spine. Dr. Rosen provided an opinion that all of the Plaintiff’s complaints were related to the motor vehicle accident. He further indicated she would require ongoing pain management to manage her pain from the injuries. Defendant provided expert testimony from Dr. Barry Jeffries, a neuroradiologist who opined that the conditions identified on the MRI scans were all chronic and degenerative in nature and that there was no evidence of an acute injury which could be related to the motor vehicle accident.
In closing the Plaintiff asked the jury to award all of her medical expenses and an unspecified amount for pain and suffering which he left to the jury’s discretion. Mr. Makarenko asked the jury to award no more than the ER bill and a nominal amount for pain and suffering. The jury deliberated for approximately 4 hours and returned a defense verdict.
Additionally, Mr. Makarenko had filed an Offer of Settlement under O.C.G.A. 9-11-68 in the amount of $18,000 in September of 2019. The matter of fees to be awarded is yet to be litigated.
The Case is Reyna Berganza v. Rebecca Streiker, State Court of Cobb County CAFN 19-A-919.
Read more about Partner Nik Makarenko here.