Mike (not actual name) was being driven as a passenger in a Lyft car in Miami Shores, Dade County, Florida. Another car, Vehicle #1, was heading in the same direction.
The Lyft car stopped due to traffic. Vehicle #1 tried to stop, but couldn’t because the road was wet.
Vehicle #1 hit the Lyft car.
Crash Report Says Minor Damage to Vehicles
The traffic crash report said that the accident caused minor damage. (Personal injury cases with minor damage to the cars are typically worth less than if the cars had big damage.)
Mike didn’t take photos of the damage to the cars involved in the accident. We weren’t able to get any photos of the damage to either vehicle.
The driver of Vehicle #1 got a ticket for driving too fast for the conditions. The crash report said that Mike was a passenger of the Lyft car.
It also said that he complained of minor neck pain, but refused taking an ambulance to the hospital.
Passenger Went to The Hospital, and Had a CT Scan
Mike was given a prescription to have his blood work done so that he could be cleared for surgery.
Passenger Needed a Permanent Injury to Get Money for Pain and Suffering
Since vehicle #1 had PIP insurance and Mike was entitled to PIP insurance, Florida’s tort threshold law required Mike to have a permanent injury in order to be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering.
GEICO’s adjuster was Elizabeth Haygood.
GEICO Paid Its $25,000 Bodily Injury Liability Insurance Limits
GEICO sent us a check for its driver’s bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance limits of $25,000.
Mike ultimately decided not to have surgery, since it carried the risk of infection and complications from anesthesia. He did have many therapy sessions for the pain in his spine and other body parts.
Mike had an MRI of his neck, back, wrist and ankle.
The MRI of his wrist showed mild fraying or a partial tear of triangular fibrocartilage (TFC), which is located in the wrist.
Mike’s ankle MRI showed several things, which I will discuss shortly.
The bottom line is that the orthopedic doctor couldn’t say that any of the ankle conditions were caused by the crash. He did say that the injuries could have been aggravated by the accident.
The ankle MRI showed the following:
1. Tenosynovitis of the posterior tibial tendon. (Tenosynovitis is inflammation of the lining of the sheath that surrounds a tendon (the cord that joins muscle to bone). There may be mild fraying at the posterior margin of the distal tendon. There is no full thickness or high-grade tear demonstrated.
The MRI of the ankle also showed:
2. Mild tenosynovitis of the peroneal tendons.
3. Mild plantar fasciitis. (This is an inflammation of a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes.)
The ankle MRI also showed subarticular edema and cystic changes within the lateral aspect of the talar dome with subjacent articular cartilage loss. (The talar dome is the top portion of the talar dome that is seen in the red image above.)
The doctor’s final diagnosis was:
- Cervical (neck) disc bulges
- Thoracic (upper and middle-back) bulges
- Lumbar (lower back) disc bulge
- Ankle pain, and ankle tenosynovitis
- Wrist sprain and partial tear of triangular fibrocartilage
Mike’s orthopedic doctor said that the damage to the joint in his ankle likely existed before the crash. The doctor said that the crash may have worsened it.
Passenger Got $10,000 in PIP Benefits Through Lyft’s Insurance
Lyft’s insurer, Zurich American Insurance Company, qualified Mike for PIP benefits. York Risk Services Group, a third party administrator (TPA), handled the claim for Zurich. Frank Eccel, was the first employee of York who we dealt with.
Phyllis Conahan was York’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claims adjuster.
York’s PIP coverage paid $10,000 to his doctors because he didn’t own a car in Florida, or live with a relative who owned a motor vehicle.
The Lyft driver’s car was covered with underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance with York, since it was in the process of giving a Lyft passenger a ride.
Natalie Walton was the initial York UIM adjuster assigned to the claim.
York (TPA for Lyft’s Insurer) Initially Offered $16,000
York’s opening offer to Mike was $16,000. York later increased the offer to $23,000.
The adjuster who was handling the claim apparently left Lyft. Jackie Wallace, a claims unit manager for York, took over the claim.
Lyft Pays Passenger $45,000 to Settle UIM Claim
Through negotiation, York (on behalf of Zurich) paid $45,000 under its underinsured motorist insurance coverage to settle the UIM claim.
York then assigned another UIM adjuster to handle the settlement check and release. She sent us the settlement release.
Whole Case (BI and UIM) Settles for $70,000
The entire settlement was for $70,000. It was made up of GEICO’s $25,000 settlement, and York’s $45,000 settlement.
I represented the injured passenger, Mike.
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