Our client was driving in a funeral procession, when an employee of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority ("DCWASA") failed to yield to the funeral procession and crashed into our client's vehicle. As a result of the collision our client suffered a herniated disk in her back at the L4-L5 level of her spine, which caused permanent back pain. She was not a candidate for surgery, so there was nothing she could do to alleviate the back pain. Our client is 34 years old, and has three children. The pain interfered with her ability to enjoy many activities with her family.
DCWASA refused to take responsibility for the collision. They claimed our client ran a red light, since the traffic light governing traffic in the direction our client was travelling was red at the time she proceeded through the intersection. DCWASA was also relying on an independent witness who was expected to testify that our client had lagged behind the funeral procession, making it appear as if the funeral procession was over. DCWASA offered our client $5,000 to settle the case. Accordingly, Partner Allan M. Siegel tried the case in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia.
At trial, the independent witness stated that he was paying attention, and was therefore able to determine that there was still a funeral procession proceeding through the intersection, despite his testimony that our client had lagged behind six car lengths. There were also other witnesses who said our client was stopped in the middle of the intersection, one car length behind the vehicle in front of her when the collision occurred. The jury found that the DCWASA driver was negligent and entered a verdict against DCWASA for $611,238.40.