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UNDERHILL ET VIR v. CANTALANO. (01/21/58)

January 21, 1958

UNDERHILL ET VIR, APPELLANTS,
v.
CANTALANO.



Appeal, No. 187, April T., 1957, from judgments of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, July, T., 1954, No. 2833, in case of Florence I. Underhill et vir v. James E. Cantalano et al. Judgments reversed.

COUNSEL

Marvin D. Power, with him Suto, Power, Goldstein & Walsh, for appellants.

Bruce R. Martin, with him Pringle, Bredin & Martin, for appellees.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ.

Author: Hirt

[ 185 Pa. Super. Page 156]

OPINION BY HIRT, J.

On September 8, 1953 plaintiff, Florence I. Underhill, while driving her automobile on Washington Road in Allegheny County was stopped by a red traffic light at Main Entrance Drive, an intersecting street. Although there were four lanes in Washington Road, a trailer truck owned by Frank Koloczinski and operated by defendant Cantalano for Hayes Freight Lines, Inc., approached from the rear and crashed into this plaintiff's car after it had stopped at the intersection. This action was brought to recover damages for personal injuries suffered by the wife and for medical and hospital expense incurred by her husband. The verdicts were for the husband-plaintiff in the sum of $1,345 and for the wife in the sum of but $953.30 although, ignoring an allowance for pain and suffering,

[ 185 Pa. Super. Page 157]

    her loss in wages alone prior to her first return to work, was $2,379. The plaintiffs moved for a new trial on the ground that the wife's verdict was grossly inadequate and also because of allegedly prejudicial trial errors. This appeal is from the refusal of the motions, and the entry of judgments on the verdicts.

There is evidence that the driver immediately after the accident stated that the brakes of the truck were defective and that for that reason he could not control its operation in time to avoid the collision. The defendants clearly were chargeable with negligence and the question of contributory negligence was not in the case.

By the force of the impact the wife-plaintiff was thrown backward and then forward in the driver's seat; her head struck the steering wheel and she immediately was conscious of pain in her neck. She consulted her family doctor and later, when her condition did not respond to treatment by him, she was sent by the defendant, Hayes Freight Lines, Inc., to Dr. J. Hubert Wagner on October 29, 1953. From his examination Dr. Wagner believed that she was suffering from a severe sprain of the muscles of her neck and right shoulder and a sprain of the lower back in the lumbosacral region. At his direction she entered St. Francis Hospital and remained there under his care from November 5 to December 5, 1953 when she was discharged as improved. She continued to receive treatments, however, as an outpatient until June 1954, when on the advice of Dr. Wagner, that she attempt to rehabilitate herself, she went back to work and continued in her former employment until May 1955. Although her condition was not normal she apparently did not receive medical treatment during the period. On June 9, 1955, when she again consulted Dr. Wagner he returned her to the hospital where she received additional

[ 185 Pa. Super. Page 158]

    diathermy treatments, and manipulations of her neck and back under anaesthesia, over a period of 20 days. Dr. Wagner attributed her condition at that time to the injury of September 8, 1953. She returned to lighter work in a sedentary job ...


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