On March 24, 2012, the plaintiff, Ms. McCamury, sat at the window counter eating her lunch at Pop’s Restaurant. Katelyn Hand, age 16 and licensed to drive for only 3 months, pulled into the parking lot to eat at Pop’s. Her foot inadvertently slipped off the brake and hit the gas propelling her car into the front wall and windows of the restaurant. The plaintiff alleged that her knees were injured when the windows and the front of the restaurant collapsed on her and that she suffered multiple disk herniations to her lumbar spine from being knocked off her stool onto her backside. She described the incident as the “most traumatic thing in her life” and her physician from UIC medical center testified that she would need surgery on her back.
Discovery showed that she had had an auto accident in 2009 in which she injured her lower back. The cashier at Pop’s testified that the plaintiff was not knocked off her stool and in fact returned a week later demanding a free lunch. Paramedics and the emergency room physician testified that she was walking at the scene and the exam of her back at the ER was normal. Her surgeon was forced to admit that the history he received from the plaintiff was “flawed” and that the disk pathology on the MRIs could be degenerative and could be associated with her prior accident.
The Plaintiff’s medical bills were approximately $40,000 and her future medical bills for surgery and associated rehab were approximately an additional $55,000. The parties agreed to binding arbitration to protect Ms. Hand and because the Plaintiff would only accept Ms. Hand’s policy limits of $100,000.
The arbitration found that the only injury related to the accident were to the Plaintiff’s knees and awarded $49.048.50. The case was arbitrated on January 28, 2015.