On a spring day in 2015, a 50-year-old woman (the plaintiff) suffered a spine injury when the vehicle (SUV) in which she was a back-seat passenger was hit by another SUV. The second SUV was driven by a female defendant who turned left in front of the plaintiff’s vehicle while leaving the local High School
Photos taken at the scene of the accident revealed relatively minor damage to the two vehicles.
The plaintiff began to experience back pain immediately after the crash. She did not obtain medical treatment until three weeks after the auto accident. Her physician prescribed physical therapy and an anti-inflammatory drug. Instead of physical therapy plaintiff chose a home therapy exercise plan.
As a child, the plaintiff was diagnosed with and treated for scoliosis until she reached the age of 18 years. Between that time and the day of the auto accident, she had not been treated for her scoliosis or for any thoracic spine issues. She was active in sports in college and prior to the crash she volunteered at her children’s school. She also volunteered in her local community.
A few months after the crash she returned to her physician with the complaint of more severe pain. The physician recommended a spinal fusion procedure. When performing the procedure, the doctor fused her spine from T-3 to T-12 with two rods and 16 screws. Her recovery from this procedure involved six days in the hospital and three weeks in bed at home. For six months she could not twist her back, bend it or lift anything for six months.
The Plaintiff sustained permanent immobility of her spine and is unable to participate in many of the activities that were a normal part of her life prior to the auto accident. According to her physician, she will need to be checked annually and may need additional physical therapy in the future.
During the trial, the defendant’s expert reviewing the records argued that the Plaintiff’s injury directly attributable to the crash was a sprain on the thoracic spine area. The expert argued that the fusion surgery was related to her prior scoliosis and not to the crash. The plaintiff’s physician argued that this surgery would not have been necessary were it not for the accident.
The defendant’s insurance company did not make a financial offer before the trial or during the two days of the trial. They also did not respond to a proposed high-low agreement offered by the plaintiff.
The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff after a mere two hours of deliberation. The verdict was for $1,300,000. This verdict required slightly more than the defendant’s policy limits. The insurance company paid the full amount of the verdict.
If you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident or other highway traffic accident, and through no fault of your own, call Altizer Law, P.C. Trusted Roanoke, VA attorney Bettina Altizer and her team of experienced professionals are here to help you and to ensure that you receive the largest possible financial settlement for your hurts and harms.