Underinsured motorist arbitration after low-impact rearender nets $520K. San Diego County.
Security guard is rearended while on the job; minor property damage to car. Defense says pre-existing conditions were the cause of his ongoing pain and disability.
- Case Name: Ronald Mangold v. Truck Insurance Exchange (Farmers)
- Court and Case Number: Underinsured Motorist Arbitration
- Date of Arbitration Award : Tuesday, June 02, 2015
- Date Action was Filed: Thursday, September 26, 2013
- Type of Action: Underinsured Motorist
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Herbert B. Hoffman, Ret.
Plaintiffs: Ronald Mangold, 60, school district security officerTracy Mangold
Defendants: Truck Insurance Exchange (Farmers)
- Type of Result: Arbitration Award
- Gross Verdict or Award: $681,606.20
- Net Verdict or Award: $520,000. $50,000 of award was for loss of consortium damages for claimant Tracy Mangold.
- Contributory/Comparative Negligence: None
Past medical and lost earnings (workers comp benefits): $156,606.20
Future Medical: $75,000
Past Non-Economic Damages: $150,000
Future Non-Economic Damages: $250,000
- Trial or Arbitration Time: One day (8 hours).
Attorney for the Plaintiff:
Kohn Law Office by Russell S. Kohn, Oceanside.
Skolnick Law Group by Suzanne C. Skolnick, Carlsbad.
Attorney for the Defendant:
Boles & Di Mascio by John D. Culver, Jr., San Diego.
Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):
Nathan Perrizo, D.O., pain medicine, (via deposition), Oceanside.
Howard Tung, M.D., neurosurgery, La Jolla.
Richard Greenfield, M.D., orthopedics, La Jolla.
Plaintiff's Technical Experts: None.
Defendant's Technical Expert(s):
Roger Thrush, Ph.D., vocational rehabilitation, La Mesa.
Facts and Background
Facts and Background:
The 60-year-old claimant was injured in a November 16, 2010 rear-end collision that occurred while he was in the course and scope of his employment as a school district security officer. He sustained back, neck and shoulder injuries and had undergone 4 ½ years of treatment, including neck and back epidural injections and 2 lumbar radiofrequency ablation procedures by the time the matter reached arbitration.
That claimant sustained aggravation of pre-existing asymptomatic degenerative arthritic conditions, causing constant neck, back, and right shoulder pain requiring daily pain medicine, neck and back epidural steroid injections, and two lumbar ablation procedures. That these injuries have kept him from working as a security guard, and impaired his activities of daily living and his quality of life, including his lifelong passion for fishing. That claimant's spouse,Tracy Mangold, suffered significant loss of consortium due to her husband's injuries.
This was a minor impact rear-end collision causing approximately $2,500 damage to each vehicle. Claimant Ronald Mangold suffered only spraining injuries which resolved within one year of the collision. Any residual symptoms after one year were due to pre-existing degenerative arthritic conditions. Claimant's unrelated bladder cancer diagnosis and resulting bladder removal surgery in June 2012 have impaired his ability to work and his relationship with his family; that his collision-related injuries have not prevented him from obtaining work.
Injuries and Other Damages
Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:
Aggravation of pre-existing asymptomatic degenerative arthritic conditions, causing constant neck, back, and right shoulder pain. Future lifelong treatment needs include monthly pain medicine refills, a right shoulder arthroscopic surgery, and lumbar ablation procedures approximately every 2 years.
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $20,606.20
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $100,000
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $76,000
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: $60,000
Arbitration award was reduced by the following recoveries by claimant: workers' compensation medical and disability benefits of $156,606.20; Mercury Insurance policy payment for underinsured motorist of $5,000 (the balance of $15,000 policy limit went to reimburse the workers' comp insurer and to pay attorney fees).
The claim against the underinsured motorist settled for the $15,000 minimal policy limit. After the worker’s compensation case was resolved, the case was mediated unsuccessfully with Farmers offering only $30,000. Less than one week before the arbitration hearing, Farmers increased its offer to $175,000. The case proceeded to arbitration before retired Judge Herbert Hoffman. Judge Hoffman determined damages of $681,606.20. After reduction for the worker’s compensation benefits and the third party recovery, Judge Hoffman’s net award totaled $520,000.