AUGUSTA — A jury awarded a Readfield man $131,000 in damages Tuesday for injuries he suffered when his vehicle was struck in the rear by another in July 2014 on Western Avenue in Augusta.

The 8-1 verdict in favor of Isaiah R. Stephan followed a two-day trial in the civil case heard at the Capital Judicial Center.

Stephan, 39, through attorney Daniel Kagan, sued Raymond Hedges, of Livermore Falls, saying Hedges was negligent in driving his vehicle when it struck Stephan’s vehicle in the rear as both were traveling in the same direction on July 11, 2014.

Kagan said Stephan had a nerve that got pinched between two bones in his neck, which caused numbness in his hand.

“He’s a practicing chiropractor, and three fingers on his hand are numb,” Kagan said. “He’s been told it would take surgery to repair it.”

Kagan added that the monetary award would allow Stephan to have the surgery when he chooses and remove worries about income. Kagan said attorneys had stipulated to the fact that Stephan earned $130,000 a year, and a doctor testified that Stephan would be out of work one or two months following surgery.

The crash occurred as both vehicles were traveling east in stop-and-go traffic in a construction zone on Western Avenue near Paul Blouin Performance. “We agreed it was (a) very low speed accident,” Kagan said.

Neither the two passengers in Stephan’s vehicle nor Hedges and his passenger were injured.

Hedges was represented at trial by attorney John Topchik, who was not available for comment Wednesday.

“His client from the beginning had admitted he wasn’t paying attention and hit the (car) in front of him,” Kagan said.

At one point, experts for the defense, based in Corvallis, Oregon, indicated in a report that “the accident did not generate enough force to cause plaintiff’s neck and shoulder injuries, nor could it have aggravated any pre-existing injuries,” according to information in the court’s file.

Kagan said that after the verdict was returned, Stephan “was happy that the jury understood what he’s been saying since the day it happened, that it’s true. They believed him and his doctor that this nerve entrapment happened because of the crash. He felt that the process gave him a chance to be heard and to prove he was telling the truth.”

Justice Michaela Murphy presided at the trial.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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