On Oct. 12, 2010, the plaintiff Christina Marshall was driving southbound on Route 71 in Ottawa, Ill. When stopped behind a line of backed up traffic waiting for a school bus to drop off children, the driver traveling behind Marshall slammed on his brakes and swerved his van onto the northbound lane to avoid striking the plaintiff’s vehicle. The driver behind the van, the defendant, Callie K. Steith, 27, also braked but was unable to stop in time and rear-ended the Marshall vehicle.
Marshall, 25, contended that the impact caused a herniated C5-6 disc, which led to an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion.
The defendant argued that Marshall made an unnecessary sudden stop, the view of Steith of the roadway in traffic was obscured because it was downhill, the crash was low speed with minimal impact and Marshall suffered only a neck strain.