Silverbach Group Wins Settlement, ALL Medical and Legal Fees for Accident Victim
PERSONAL INJURY CASE REVIEW:
The client, whom we will refer to as “Laura”, was injured in a motor vehicle accident, and needed a personal injury lawyer.
ACCIDENT REVIEW DETAILS:
While driving, “Laura” was in the turn lane, attempting a left-hand turn. As she rolled forward to make the turn, she was struck by a vehicle travelling approximately 25 m.p.h. The damage to her car was minimal, and at first she seemed to exhibit minimal symptoms of whiplash injury.
Based on experience, Laura’s injuries appeared to be strictly ‘soft tissue’ at first, especially since the damage to her vehicle was less than $1,100.00. All outward signs pointed to a low-impact chiropractic and therapeutic whiplash case.
Nothing could have been further from the truth. We sent Laura to a local Chiropractor in Kennesaw, Dr. Jered Hull, D.C. of Dynamic Spine and Sports Therapy, for the initial review. Dr. Hull is one of the medical care providers in our network who is willing to provide our clients treatment in exchange for payment, out of the proceeds of a personal injury settlement. ( This is known as providing treatment on a Lien. )
By the time Laura got to Dr. Hull, just one week after motor vehicle accident, her symptoms began to set in. Laura was experiencing extreme neck pain and low back pain. Numbness and tingling that radiated from her shoulder, all the way down in her left arm, way a major concern.
Dr.Hull suspected that this spinal pain and radiotelegraphy was caused by a server structural injury from Laura’s motor vehicle accident (“MVA”). Upon examination of the patient and x-rays, Dr. Hull found what he believed to be herniated intervertbral discs in Laura’s cervical spine (neck). He immediately referred Laura to a Neurosurgeon in Cobb County, who provided an on-site MRI. The results of the MRI confirmed Dr. Hull’s diagnosis of herniated discs. The doctor suspected that one of the herniated discs was the cause of Laura’s radiating pain and numbness.
Laura was recommended for a single level cervical discectomy with plating and allograft spinal fusion surgery. The Neurologist also agreed to take the case on lien.
The surgery was successful, and Laura has made a full recovery.
- Laura was a student, and had no insurance to pay for her treatment. To receive adequate care and medical recovery, she needed to prosecute a case for Negligence against the other driver; however…
- Because Laura didn’t have medial insurance, the medical care providers had to agree to take the case on lien; however…
- Since Laura had a severe personal injury, despite a seemingly slight impact as evidenced by lack of visible damage to the vehicle, Laura haced an up-hill battle with the claims adjuster, because Cobb County Juries are known for failing to compensate injured parties where the evidence of the mechanism of injury seems implausible.
In surmmary: Laura’s Personal Injury Case Issues
- No insurance for medical bills, or recovery
- No substantial damage to the vehicle
- Minor vehicle damage did not support her serious medical injury
- Surgery was required for her injuries
The issue of the case was: Could the victim recover a significant settlement when the mechanism of injury appeared to be only a “slight” impact resulting in major injuries?
After surgery, the neurosurgeon charged over $160,000.00 for his medical services. Total value of the medical costs in this case exceeded $172,000.00. The issues of the case made settlement very difficult, but in the end, we were able to negotiate the medical costs down to $82,000.00, and we achieved a settlement of $344,000.00.
The issue of Negligence was admitted by the Defendant. SO, fault was a non sequitur. The fight, then, was really about how much in damages were actually caused by the Defendant to our client.
Focusing on that, the adjuster claimed that the value of the claim was $2,500.00 because as she argued, disc herniations could not have resulted from the wreck since, as the adjuster claimed, the damage to the vehicle indicated a slight impact. To counter this, we raised the principle of the “Egg Shell Plaintiff Doctrine,” also known as, the “Thin Skull Plaintiff Doctrine.” AT Systems Southeast, Inc. v. Carnes, 272 Ga.App. 671.
“The defendant take the plaintiff as he finds him.” Id. This doctrine makes a defendant liable for the entirety of a plaintiff’s injury where the defendant’s actions contributed to the injury in some way. In other words, where a preexisting asymptomatic injury becomes symptomatic, post MVA, because the MVA acted upon that preexisting condition, thus requiring treatment, then the Plaintiff may recover for the entire sum of such injury. Coleman v. Atlanta Ostetrics & Gynecolory Group, P.A., 194 Ga.App. 508 ( superseded on other grounds). The reasoning for this provision of relief in the law is because the defendant caused the need for the plaintiff to expend money to get better. Id.
This being the case, one would think that this would have been a “slam dunk” at trial, however, it must be strongly stressed that any attorney with more than 10 minutes of practice cannot predict how a jury will act. The question of causation of an injury is complex and has many pitfalls. It is possible, virtually likely, that a jury in the county that this case was in would have sided with the defendant because the obvious fact is that the Plaintiff’s car showed no visual damage.
While the trial may have grossed a half million or more, it was highly likely that a jury would have awarded $20,000.00. With waters as muddy as these, this firm is not willing to base the financial future of our client on a bet, with worse odds than Vegas.
So, the insurance company’s argument, our counter augment, in conjunction with the circumstances of geography, mitigated the strength of both sides of the case. These circumstances effectively created doubt, as to the efficacy of one argument over the other. The benefit of a trial would be dubious at best, in the face of the certain costs such a trial would impose.
Both parities adjusted their numbers significantly to resolve the issues before them, and a settlement was awarded. Our client received the medical compensation she required, and all medical costs and legal fees were paid. “Laura” has made a full recovery and was compensated for her injuries.