My Actual Case: $16,500 Settlement (Gross) for my client, a driver of a car, who was diagnosed with a herniated disc in his back.
The settlements in this article are before deduction for attorney’s fees and expenses. Most cases result in a lower recovery. It should not be assumed that your case will have as beneficial a result.
A car hit him in Kendall, Miami-Dade County, Florida. The at-fault driver was insured by GEICO.
The at-fault car failed to yield the right of way when exiting the mall. My client, the injured driver did not go to the hospital, but treated with a doctor days later. He then went months without treating and then treated consistently with a chiropractor.
According to his treating doctor, because of his lower back pain, he was a candidate for “surgery” (percutaneous lumbar discectomy) although his pain was not bad enough for him to get it. My client’s medical bills were paid as follows:
– Personal Injury Protection (P.I.P.) on his own auto insurance paid $10,000 to his medical providers.
– A small portion of the net settlement was used to pay for his medical bills.
A large part of this settlement was for his pain and suffering as a result of this car accident because my client’s doctor said that he had a herniated disc that was related to the car accident.
The bodily injury liability insurance limits of the at-fault car were $20,000. This means that the most that GEICO would have to pay on its insured’s behalf is $20,000, unless GEICO failed to act in good faith in protecting its insured’s interests. This settlement was a little below the full value of the settlement range for a settlement value for a herniated disc from an accident in Florida for the reasons noted below.
My thoughts: When evaluating the settlement value of an injury case, you should discount (reduce) the full value for settlement purposes if the injured person waits a significant time to get medical treatment following an accident. This is one of the more than 36 factors that can affect the value of an injury case. There are over 13 factors that may affect the value of an motor vehicle accident case.
I have heard a defense attorney argue that the more educated a person is, the more reasonable that it should have been for him to see a doctor if he or she was in pain. Whereas if the injured person is less educated, the liability insurance company would possibly allow the injured person a little more slack for not seeing a doctor for some time.
So all other things being equal, an educated person who waits to get treatment may get more money that someone who is educated and waits to get medical treatment. My client was in his 40’s at the time of the accident. The GEICO claims adjuster argued the typical defenses in a case involving a herniated disc.
I think that if I had filed a lawsuit then GEICO would have hired a doctor who would have used the typical said that my client’s herniated disc existed before the accident. GEICO would have argued that it pre-existed the accident.
You should expect to hear this argument in every injury case involving a herniated disc, with the exception being where the injured person is very young (e.g. in their teens or early twenties).
GEICO would have also probably hired an orthopedic or neurologist who would have said that the herniated disc is not a permanent injury. You should expect to hear this argument in every injury case involving a herniated disc.
If the jury believed the doctor that GEICO may have hired, then under Florida law my client would not have been entitled to money for pain and suffering in this auto accident because the jury would have found that he did not have a permanent injury.
The doctor that GEICO may have hired may have said that my client had a bulging disc and not a herniated disc. You should expect to hear this defense as well in every case where the injury claimed is a herniated disc.
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My client gave me the following review about our handling of his case:
“After my car accident I received the treatment needed for my injuries and received a fair settlement. I would highly recommend Justin Ziegler.”
I am very grateful that he hired us!
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