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Police Officer Dropped His Cell Phone, Resulting in Back and Neck Injury

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Sarasota, FLWhen a Sarasota police officer dropped his cell phone while driving and took his eyes off the road for a split second to retrieve it, that’s all it took for a 30-year-old woman to be left with back and neck injury after her car was rear-ended. When the injured woman filed a lawsuit, the city of Sarasota and the plaintiff are reported to have agreed on a settlement.

It was not mentioned if the police officer, an employee of the City of Sarasota Police Department, was on duty at the time the accident occurred, in December 2010. However, the vehicle involved in the rear-end collision, according to the Sarasota Herald (1/6/14), was a Sarasota police vehicle.

It was three weeks before Christmas, in 2010, that Drew Brown was out driving her 2000 Toyota Camry when her car was rear-ended. The officer, identified as William D. Schwenk, was driving a 2010 Chevrolet Tahoe when, according to the report, he dropped his cell phone in the vehicle he was driving and in an effort to retrieve the device, took his eyes off the road.

Brown, who was 27 years of age at the time, alleged in her neck injury compensation claim that she suffered back and neck injury and has run up in excess of $41,000 in medical bills. Included in that amount is an invoice for $19,000 from Sarasota Memorial Hospital, more than $7,000 in physiotherapy sessions and radiology treatment at a clinic located in Orlando totaling hundreds of dollars.

The proposed settlement, valued at $48,000, also factored in pre-existing injuries unrelated to the December 4, 2010 accident. Those pre-existing injuries, according to the Sarasota Herald, were factored into the calculation of the final settlement amount.

It should be noted that the officer admitted fault in the accident and was cited for careless driving by the Florida Highway Patrol. He remains employed as a police officer by the Sarasota force. The city attorney for Sarasota noted in comments published in the Sarasota Herald that under the circumstances, given that the city of Sarasota was likely liable for the accident, it was most economical to work out a settlement with the plaintiff provided the two sides could agree.

Brown launched her back and neck injury lawsuit in 2013.

A back injury compensation claim, together with neck injury compensation, can be sought for any number of reasons following an injury. Whiplash, and other injuries related to vehicle collisions, is a common cause. But so too are falls and other incidents where an owner has failed to maintain safe premises.

Back injury settlements can range from thousands into the millions of dollars, given the kind of ongoing, chronic pain and suffering that can linger long after treatment has stopped and medical bills are paid. Many plaintiffs consulting a neck injury lawyer find that medical bills never stop, as they require ongoing treatment for an injury that occurred through no fault of their own.

The back and neck are two of the worst places to sustain a chronic injury. Little wonder that plaintiffs seek out and participate in neck injury settlements in an effort to avoid financial ruin from steep medical bills, and compensation for pain and suffering that sometimes never ends…


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