Michelle McHale, 22, and her husband, Scott, were traveling in their SUV through a construction zone on an extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. While they were waiting in traffic, the SUV was rear-ended by a truck driven by Jonathan Dickison for the Pocono Produce Co.
Michelle suffered an orthopedic injury that causes her chronic pain, and a traumatic brain injury, which has affected her personality, mood, and cognitive function. A substitute teacher earning about $28,000 annually, she is unable to pursue her plans to attend veterinary school. She returned to teaching within a year of the accident.
The McHales sued Dickison and Pocono Produce, alleging that Dickison had been speeding and that the company was vicariously liable for his negligence. The defense disputed Michelle’s injuries.
The parties settled during trial for $2.2 million, paid by the defendants’ insurer.
Citation: McHale v. Pocono Produce Co., No. 3879 (Pa., Phila. Co. Com. Pleas Apr. 12, 2011).
Plaintiff counsel: AAJ member Michael O. Panini and Steven M. Marrow, both of Philadelphia.
Plaintiff experts: Rosette Bister, neuropsychology, and Rosalyn Pierce, vocational rehabilitation, both of Philadelphia; Michael M. Cohen, neurology, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania; and Andrew Verzilli, economics, Ottsville, Pennsylvania.