If you've ever heard an insurance adjuster argue that "minor vehicle damage must equate to minor injuries," you know how frustrating it can be. Not only is this a poorly grounded argument, but it's also dead wrong.
Take the case of 60-year-old truck driver Derek. Derek was on the job when he was rear-ended by another trucker at relatively low speeds. There wasn't much damage to the trucks, but Derek herniated a disc in his back and needed surgery. He also suffered from a nerve impingement in his lower back and ultimately had a spinal stimulator implanted to control his pain. Due to the injuries and the meds he had to take for pain, he could no longer drive tractor-trailers for a living.
We Fought the Insurance Adjuster
The insurance company made some of those infuriating arguments we hear again and again. "Derek didn't seek medical treatment until eight days after the collision, so his injuries probably aren't related." "The collision happened at such low speeds, it's unlikely they really caused Derek's back pain." "Derek had pre-existing back pain, so this injury isn't our insured's fault." And so on. We hate these arguments, but we knew exactly how to deal with them.
We spoke to Derek's dispatcher (who was in constant contact with Derek following the collision). The dispatcher testified that since Derek was working out-of-state when the accident happened, he had to go home to Florida for medical treatment (due to insurance policies), hence the time delay.
As for the speed of the crash and pre-existing conditions, we brought in Derek's orthopedic surgeon to testify that the injuries to Derek's back were caused by the wreck. Yes, Derek had a history of back pain, but he was asymptomatic for years leading up to the collision.
To drive the point home, we hired a nationally recognized epidemiologist who testified that the forces involved in the collision were more than sufficient to induce the injuries to Derek's back. We also hired an economist to testify to the loss of earning capacity suffered by our client since he could not longer drive a tractor-trailer for a living.
This case settled following mediation and prior to trial. While Derek had health insurance to cover the cost of his medical care, we negotiated a significant reduction in the insurance company’s lien, thus getting $285,000.00 for Derek.
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Net settlement to client after expenses: $185,543.90