A man received $25,000 after another car struck a pickup truck that he was a passenger in.
This settlement is 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.
Uninsured Motorist Insurer/Limits/Adjuster: USAA/$25,000/Christy Gutierrez
How the accident happened
Saint-Vil was driving a car (V01 in the diagram above). He was traveling South in the inside lane of US 1 (State Road 5) at the 99 mile marker in Key Largo, Monroe County, Florida.
My client’s wife was driving his pickup truck (V02 in the diagram above). Our client was a passenger. They were traveling South on US 1 (State Road) at the 99 mile marker in the outside lane.
A witness was directly behind our client’s car in the outside lane. He said that Saint-Vil changed lanes and cut in front of him.
My client’s wife applied the brakes as there was heavy holiday traffic in front of her. V01 failed to stop in time striking our client’s car in the rear.
Prior to the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper arriving, both cars were on the right shoulder facing south.
Damage to Vehicles
A picture of the damage to my client’s pickup truck is at the top of this page.
Infinity Insurance sent us a notarized disclosure of information indicating that its insured had no bodily injury coverage.
He had therapy and had a cast placed on his left arm. His index finger was immobilized. We sent USAA photos of his injuries.
We sent USAA copies of prescriptions that he was given as a result of this crash. His orthopedic surgeon issued a report about his injuries and treatment. We sent it to USAA.
Orthopedic Surgeon Says He Suffered an Emergency Medical Condition
Dr. Blinn stated that he has suffered an emergency medical condition (“EMC”), which could impair his function and ability to perform his necessary duties as well as everyday activities of life.
Since our client owned a car in Florida, and was a passenger in a car in Florida at the time of the crash, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) paid for some of his medical bills.
Since his doctor diagnosed him with an emergency medical condition, PIP paid the doctor and hospital $10,000 towards his medical bills.
He continued to treat for his hand and wrist injuries. The orthopedic surgeon prescribed several MRIs, which he underwent shortly thereafter.
The bill for the MRIs was $14,800.
Tricare pays some medical bills
The injured man had Tricare, since he was a member of the armed forces. It paid a good amount of his medical bills.
Tricare claimed a lien on the settlement. I was able to get the lien reduced for him. Tricare reduced their lien by my attorney’s fees and costs. This is one of the many advantages of hiring a lawyer.
Here are the results of some of the MRIs that he had:
Left Shoulder MRI
- Positive for a tear of the posterior labrum.
- Paralabral cyst along the posterior margin of the glenoid.
- Thickening of the capsular structures (compatible to capsulitis).
MRI of the cervical spine shows 3 Herniated Discs
His MRI of his neck showed:
1. Marked straightening of the normal cervical lordosis consistent with torticollis. A central/right paracentral disc herniation with compression of the thecal sac at C3-4 (less than 1mm).
2. 1mm broad based central disc herniation with compression of the thecal sac and visualization of a small left paracentral annular tear at C4-5
3. At C5-6 there is a 1mm broad based central disc herniation with compression of the thecal sac.
In Sum: The radiologist said that he had a disc herniation in his neck at 3 different levels (C3-C4, C4-C5, and C5-C6).
Interesting Fact: I know that one orthopedic doctor who says that it is much more common to herniate one or two discs from a car accident than four to six.
His Herniated Discs are Very Small
Each of his herniated disc in his neck was 1mm in size. I know one orthopedic doctor who says that a 1 or 2 millimeter herniation is on the border of being normal.
This is because 2 to 3 millimeters is basically microscopic and borderline normal without any other issues. You also have to look at whether there is a high intensity zone, annular tear or some other structural abnormality.
He Has Annular Tear at C4-C5
At the c4-c5 level in our client’s neck, he had a small annular tear. The annular tear may make it easier to show that this car crash caused or aggravate the 1mm herniation.
Doctors measure a herniation by using a ruler on the computer monitor. They usually look at a side view of the herniation and use a vertical line on the monitor. It is hard to measure two millimeters.
MRI of the Thoracic Spine (Mid back)
1. An anterior wedge compression deformity involving the T3 vertebral body with depression of the superior endplate, without significant loss of the vertebral stature (possibly related to Schmorl’s mode.).
2. At T11-T12 there is a broad based bulging annulus with compression of the thecal sac, intervertebral disc space narrowing and disc desiccation.
Tip: Disc desiccation means less water than normal, and dry. Desiccation is a normal finding as we get older.
Disc desiccation can be related to trauma but can be difficult to relate.
If someone has no pre-existing issues with their spine and they later have a problem as a result of an injury, a doctor can state that the specific disc that is desiccated is the one that is hurting because the desiccated discs are structurally abnormal.
Without an annular tear or high intensity zone on the MRI inside the desiccated disc, it can be difficult to prove that the disc desiccation is traumatic and not a normal finding based on them being aged 40 through 60.
MRI of His Lower Back
He had lower back pain. Thus, he had an MRI of his lower back.
In his lower back, he had a bulging annulus at L5-S1 with compression of the thecal sac.
We sent the above records and Infinity’s notarized insurance disclosure to the USAA UM liability claims adjuster.
My client’s case may have been worth much more than the available $25,000 limits of his USAA uninsured motorist insurance. In this case, we accepted the limits because that is all that was available.
Here is a copy of the USAA settlement uninsured motorist (UM) insurance check.
My client was very pleased with the result and gave us an awesome review. He said:
Very professional and understanding of the unfortunate car accident I was in. Has a very transparent business operation and they have excellent communication from start to finish.
They made a bad situation have a positive outcome. The whole process was smooth and I can tell he is a very honest person who truly wants to help people always putting his clients needs first.
Would definitely recommend them to everyone, and use them again if the need ever arises again.
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