Announced in the Connecticut Law Tribune on July 6, the plaintiff, in case Rose Clement v. 21st Century Insurance Company, was awarded more than $86,000 by a Waterbury jury. Clement, represented by Trantolo & Trantolo, experienced a neck injury resulting from a hit-and-run accident in 2008. As the driver had left the scene of the crash and could not be identified, Trantolo & Trantolo filed a lawsuit, under an underinsured motorist claim, on behalf of Clement against 21st Century Insurance.

Nearly four years ago, Clement, then a teenager, was traveling from school to a part-time job. On October 9 at 2:40 p.m., she was in traffic when another vehicle rear-ended her car. A chain reaction resulted, with five vehicles damaged in the process. Whiplash Clement received inside her car was severe enough to break a hairclip. In response, Trantolo & Trantolo told the Law Tribune: “I didn’t know how hard it is to break a hair clip until preparing for trial I tried to break an identical hair clip. The force to break that she had to be hit pretty hard.”

Clement then proceeded to check into St. Mary’s Hospital, where she, with symptoms of nausea, headache, upper back pain, and numbness in upper arms, was diagnosed with a “traumatic soft tissue injury.” She was advised to take pain medication and contact her primary care physician should her condition not improve.

Even after following the doctor’s recommendations, Clement’s injury did not improve, and nine weeks later, she saw a neurosurgeon about neck pain. The specialist’s advised her to see a chiropractor, and she did, a total of 14 times. Her bills amounted to $6,981.

In the lawsuit, 21st Century Insurance’s attorney Lauren Barber disputed the main issues of Clement’s claim, debating the hit-and-run driver’s fault and stating that Clement did not seek out follow-up medical attention soon enough and did not see her primary care physician. Trantolo & Trantolo counteracted, stating that, prior to the accident, neck pain and headaches were not issues for the plaintiff.

Rose Clement v. 21st Century Insurance Company went to trial in early May 2012, with Judge B.J. Sheedy preceding the Waterbury Superior Court. No expert witnesses were present. Testimonies lasted roughly a day, and the jury debated for an hour, before arriving at the $86,981 award, with $86,000 for non-economic damages.