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Jury awards $450,000 to Gorham man hurt in crash

The total is more than was sought by Timothy Valeriani, 37, who suffered a back injury and couldn't work for two years after his SUV was rear-ended.

A Gorham man injured four years ago in a two-vehicle crash in Westbrook was awarded a $450,000 jury verdict last week after a three-day trial in his lawsuit against the other driver.

Timothy Valeriani, 37, said he suffered a serious back injury when the 2000 Ford Explorer he was driving was struck from behind by a 2004 Dodge Neon on Feb. 9, 2010, as he was headed north on Saco Street in Westbrook about to turn left onto Bernadette Street.

Valeriani sued the driver of the car, Joann Prevost of Westbrook, in Cumberland County Superior Court, accusing her of causing the crash through negligence, according to court records.

After a three-day trial presided over by Justice Nancy Mills, the eight-person jury returned a 7-1 verdict on Thursday in Valeriani's favor.

Valeriani's attorney, William Robitzek of the law firm Berman & Simmons, said the jury's award exceeded the $375,000 he had asked jurors to consider for Valeriani's medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering.

"He was out of work for two years," Robitzek said Monday. "The defendant's car was totaled. It went under the trailer hitch of my client's Ford Explorer."

Prescott's insurance company, Allstate Insurance, had claimed that Valeriani was not injured in the crash and had hurt his back afterward. Allstate had offered Valeriani a $60,000 settlement before the trial, but Valeriani rejected it, Robitzek said.

Prevost's attorney, Deborah Buccina of the firm Douglas, Denham, Buccina and Ernst, did not return a phone message seeking comment. Her client has 21 days from the time of the verdict to appeal.

Timothy E. Zerillo has been included in every edition of New England Super Lawyers since 2010, for his Super Lawyers page, go to http://www.superlawyers.com/maine/lawyer/Timothy-E-Zerillo/ab011be9-fc96-44e9-ad28-3956da48c1b4.html

Timothy E. Zerillo has a 10 out of 10 rating from AVVO.com - for his ratings page, go to http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/04112-me-timothy-zerillo-1844626.html

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