Rear-Ended Plaintiff Loses Bid For Damages

, The Connecticut Law Tribune

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Shaquan Whitfield v. Beth Rosen: It took just 10 minutes for a New Haven jury to return a defense verdict in the case of a woman who claimed back and neck injuries after her vehicle was hit from behind while making a turn.

Shaquan Whitfield, 24, was traveling down Whalley Avenue in New Haven on April 28, 2011. But exactly what happened next is unclear, as the plaintiff and defendant offered differing versions of events.

Whitfield, who lives in New Haven, claims she was rear-ended while attempting a left turn into a parking lot by a vehicle driven by Beth Rosen, 56, also of New Haven.

But Rosen, who was shaken up in the crash and not seriously injured, claimed Whitfield caused the accident.

Brian Candela of Ryan Ryan Deluca in Stamford, who represented Rosen, said his client was "cut off" by Whitfield.

Rosen, Candela said, "was adamant the accident took place in her lane of travel and not while [Whitfield] was partially entering into the parking lot."

Candela said his client could not swerve to avoid the collision due to other traffic concerns.

Whitfield's two younger brothers, around 7 and 10 years old, were in the vehicle with her, according to Candela. He said that at the scene Whitfield was more concerned about their well-being than her own. As it turned out, the boys just had some minor aches and pains that soon went away.

But Whitfield claimed she began to develop neck and lower back pain. On May 1, 2011, she went to the Hospital of Saint Raphael in New Haven and was diagnosed with cervical and lumbar strains. She soon began chiropractic treatments at Whalley Chiropractic & Therapy, which continued until September 2011.

Chiropractor John Young opined that Whitfield had an increased chance of degenerative disc disease in her back and assessed her with a 5 percent permanent partial disability rating. The chiropractor also estimated that Whitfield would need $1,200 to $2,500 worth of annual treatments for the rest of her life.

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