Ryan was driving an Avis rental car in Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida. He lived in Georgia, but was in Florida for a business trip.
Another car made a left hand turn and crashed into Ryan’s car. The other driver got a ticket for failure to yield the right of way.
The diagram from the crash report is below. Ryan is vehicle #2 in the diagram.
A photo of car #2 is below.
A lateral tibial plateau fracture is the part of the tibia that is farther from the middle of the body. A medial tibial plateau fracture is the closer to the center of the body.
All things equal, a lateral tibial plateau fracture is worth less than a medial tibial plateau fracture. This is because many doctors will say that you are less likely to need a knee replacement if you have a lateral tibial plateau fracture. Many doctors will say you are more likely to need a knee replacement if you fracture your medial tibial plateau. This is because more weight is placed on the medial tibial plateau than the lateral tibial plateau.
Ryan was given his own room in the hospital.
The doctor had him continue wearing a neck brace for his neck pain.
His neck pain went away shortly after the accident.
He Had Emergency Surgery to Repair the Fracture
At the hospital, Dr. William Lowry performed emergency surgery to repair the fracture. He inserted a plate and screws at the fracture site.
An x-ray of his tibial plateau after the surgery is below.
After the surgery, he couldn’t put weight on his injured leg. Thus, he was put in a wheelchair.
Ryan lived 7 hours from the accident scene. He chose to be taken back to Georgia in a private ambulance. The cost was $3,700. We sent a copy of this bill to the responsible insurance companies, whom I’ll talk about in a bit.
Paramedics helped him get out of the wheelchair, and onto a walker, so that he could get onto the private ambulance.
He was in a lying down position for his entire 7 hour ride on a private ambulance back to Georgia.
Allstate Insurance Company insured the driver who received a ticket for causing the crash. Sadly, that driver later died, allegedly from injuries from the crash.
Ryan developed a rash on his leg after the surgery. The rash did get much better through time.
Here is a picture of the scar and rash about 9 months after the surgery.
His scar and rash continued to improve as time passed. Below is a photo of the rash and scar approximately 13 months after the crash.
He was sent for blood tests to determine if the rash was from the metal hardware that was put inside his leg. During the allergy testing, he had to wear patches on his back.
The final result of the allergy testing was that he wasn’t allergic to the hardware in his leg.
Careless Driver Had $100k in BIL Insurance
The careless driver had a $100,000 bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance policy. The Allstate adjuster was Judy Rubsamen.
Once we sued, the case was transferred to Travelers’ claims office in Tampa, Florida. Travelers adjuster Sheila Loughlin handled the underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance claim.
Georgia Law Required Us To Sue the Driver; Florida UIM Law Doesn’t Require It
Even though the crash was in Florida, Ryan’s UIM insurance claim was based on Georgia UIM law. Georgia UIM law required us to sue the underinsured driver.
Florida doesn’t have a clear law that says whether suing the underinsured driver is required to bring a claim on a Georgia UIM policy. To protect Ryan’s rights, I sued the careless driver’s estate.
In order to do this, we first made a claim against the careless driver’s probate estate. We also helped get the personal representative of the probate estate substituted so that estate wouldn’t get closed.
I also sued Travelers to get Ryan’s Georgia UM insurance to pay for his injuries from this Florida car crash.
Orthopedic Doctor Says Accident Shortened the Life of the Knee
I paid $300 for a phone conference with the operating surgeon, Dr. Lowry. After the phone conference, I asked if Dr. Lowry would put his opinions in writing. He agreed.
He said that Ryan suffered a:
- lateral tibial plateau fracture that was split depressed
- lateral meniscus peripheral detachment
He said that Ryan sustained a permanent injury to the joint surface of the knee in the lateral compartment. Dr. Lowry said that the crash has definitely shortened the life of the knee.
(About 6 years prior to this crash, he had arthroscopic surgery on the same knee. Prior to that surgery, he had been having knee pain and swelling for several years.)
Dr. Lowry said that the cost of a knee replacement is approximately $50,000.00, which includes hospitalization, surgeon fees, anesthesiologist fees, radiologist fees and physical therapy.
He couldn’t say when Ryan would need a knee replacement. I sent Dr. Lowry’s opinions to the Travelers adjuster.
Travelers Pays $200,000 to Settle the UIM Insurance Lawsuit
Travelers paid $200,000 to settle the UM insurance lawsuit. Allstate paid $100,000 to settle. The entire case settled for $300,000.
Since Ryan was working at the time of the accident, his workers’ compensation carrier paid his medical bills.
Workers comp paid about $85,000 in medical bills.
Casie Bergman was the Sedgwick work comp subrogation adjuster. I told her that, in this car accident case, Florida law required Sedgwick to accept a small fraction to satisfy the workers comp lien.
It required them to reduce their lien by attorney’s fees and costs.
Since Claimant Was Driving a Rental Car, He Got $10,000 in PIP Benefits
I then used the Avis rental car’s personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to pay $10,000 toward the workers comp lien. Sedgwick handled the PIP claim for Avis. The Sedgwick PIP adjuster was Michelle Turner.
Workers Comp Paid $85,000 in Bills; Agreed to Take $3,000 to Settle the Lien
After PIP paid $10,000 towards the workers comp lien, we just had to pay workers comp a little over $3,000 to settle their original $85,000 lien.
Medpay Didn’t Pay Because Claimant Got Workers Compensation
Ryan wrote the following review:
I hired Justin to help me with my automobile personal injury case. He responded to me right away and he got started protecting my rights.
My case was very complicated involving my severe injury, multi-state involvement, car rental companies, several different insurance companies, workers comp, and probate issues due to the other driver passing away.
Justin and his assistant, Jenny, worked hard the whole way through and, importantly, were always responsive to me, even at night or weekends.
I would highly recommend that you hire JZ Helps to handle your case!
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