An Anne Arundel County jury awarded a $1 million verdict to a woman who sued over the long-lasting injuries she suffered in a 2017 vehicle crash.
The plaintiff, 65-year-old Ouida Fluck, won $1,042,000 after her case went to trial a second time this year.
The $1 million verdict will likely be reduced to $830,000 under Maryland’s cap on noneconomic damages.
Fluck was a passenger in a vehicle that was traveling south on Evergreen Road in Severna Park when it was broadsided by a vehicle being operated by the defendant, Kara DeCicco, according to the complaint. DeCicco was traveling on Holly Avenue when she attempted to cross Evergreen Road, striking the vehicle Fluck was riding in.
The complaint alleged that DeCicco was negligent when she failed to yield the right-of-way to the other vehicle.
Fluck suffered lasting injuries from the crash, including a concussion that was not diagnosed when she first went to the emergency room, according to her attorney, Mark E. Rosasco, of Hyatt & Weber, P.A. Fluck received four months of cognitive therapy and largely recovered, but continued to notice cognitive issues over the next 18 months, Rosasco said.
MRI scans over the next six months showed that Fluck was experiencing brain atrophy, or loss of brain cells. Her doctor testified at the trial that the brain injury was “progressive and permanent and that (Fluck) might eventually need assistance with living,” Rosasco said.
A defense expert testified that Fluck did not suffer a concussion in the vehicle crash and that the crash was not the cause of her brain atrophy, according to Rosasco.
Fluck is a special education teacher and has continued to work full time, her lawyer said.
An earlier trial ended with a verdict of $32,000 after just 20 minutes of deliberations, Rosasco said.
A judge granted a new trial in November 2021 based in part on testimony from DeCicco that she was between jobs and “living off of 401(k),” Rosasco told The Daily Record.
Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Ronald A. Silkworth also found that the defense expert pointed to no other possible causes of Fluck’s injuries and did not consider the evidence Fluck’s attorney presented in forming his opinion.
“This court concludes justice was not done in this case,” Silkworth wrote in granting the motion for a new trial. “Of particular concern is the severity of the accident and the impact, as well as the short time for deliberation.”
DeCicco’s attorney, Giancarlo Ghiardi, did not return a phone message seeking comment Wednesday.