A 31-year-old St. Louis woman whose car was hit from behind on Interstate 64 during afternoon rush hour has settled a liability claim with the other driver’s insurer, along with her own, for a total of $185,000.
Jennifer Gruchala was driving a 2012 Kia on I-64 eastbound near McKnight Road when her car was rear-ended on April 12, 2012, said plaintiff’s attorney Deborah Doak, of Brown & Crouppen in St. Louis. Gruchala was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital, complaining of back and chest pain.
According to a Ladue police report, Gruchala told officers she was hit after slowing down in response to traffic congestion. Jake Wells, 28, of Belleville, Ill., told police he wasn’t able to avoid Gruchala. Wells was driving a 2007 Pontiac Torrent.
Doak said her client suffered a herniated disc in her cervical and lumbar spine and received steroid injections and three months of chiropractic treatment without relief before undergoing a cervical fusion.
Gruchala received $100,000 from State Farm, Wells’ insurer, which reflected his policy limits. Doak said her client also received another $85,000 from AAA, Gruchala’s insurer, through an underinsured motorists’ coverage.
Claims adjusters for both companies declined to comment, citing company policy, but Doak provided copies of the settlement release forms as confirmation.
Motor Vehicle Collision
Venue: St. Louis County
Case Number/Date: Not filed/ Dec. 5, 2013
Insurer: State Farm Insurance for Wells; AAA for Gruchala
Caption: Jennifer Gruchala v. Jake Wells
Plaintiff’s Attorney: Deborah Doak, Brown & Crouppen, St. Louis
Defendant’s Attorney: None