4x Offer in Motor Vehicle Collision
Some motor vehicle collisions are pretty straight-forward, and injuries sustained are understood to be caused by the collision. But what happens when after your client’s first collision that is to be the subject of your claim, your client suffers a second collision, then a third, fourth, and fifth one, before you file suit? The client, a 58-year old male driving on a typical two-lane highway with houses on both sides, was stopped to turn left into a driveway while waiting for a break in oncoming traffic. The defendant driver, traveling at approximately 45 mph behind the client testified in deposition that he took his eyes off the road and then saw the client stopped. The defendant claimed he applied the brakes and struck the client at approximately 35 mph. The collision forced the client into oncoming traffic where he struck another car near the driver’s door.
The client was transported to the hospital where he complained of neck, back, and shoulder pain. The X-rays were negative and the client was released. The client followed up with medical providers and had conservative treatment for about two months. The complaints continued, however, so MRIs were ordered. The reports stated that there were bilateral SLAP tears to both shoulders and a medial meniscus tear of the right knee. Surgery was discussed but never performed. Two months after the MRIs, the client was in a different head-on collision and went to the ER. There were similar complaints made about back and neck pain. The client continued conservative treatment over the next couple of years, like physical therapy and injections for pain. During that time, the client was involved in other collisions without injury and minimal property damage.
A claim was made with the insurance company for the first collision but no lawsuit filed. Eventually, an offer of $100,000 was made. The insurance company’s claimed the client was involved in multiple collisions after the initial one, that he never had surgery, and that there were some inconsistencies in the medical chart over the years.
Justin S. Kahn of Kahn Law Firm, LLP was retained and filed suit. Discovery took place and the defense identified two orthopedic surgeons as experts who were prepared to testify that the SLAP tears were not caused by the collision. One of the defense orthopedists would testify that the knee was related to the collision but only minor arthroscopic surgery was needed, and both were going to blame the other problems the client had on the subsequent collisions or pre-existing conditions. Two depositions were taken, one of the plaintiff and one of the defendant driver. Mediation was set for just after Thanksgiving. Mr. Kahn knew that the MRI reports created shortly after the collision could help show the damage was done from the first collision, not the later ones, but he needed pictures, not words. He thought colorized MRIs after the first collision that showed the injuries could be used to explain that the defense was simply trying to move the spotlight to the wrong wrecks. Mr. Kahn knew that he needed to come to mediation prepared to show that the injuries were caused by the first collision. He sent the MRIs and reports to Focus Graphics and requested colorized images to show that the injuries were present two months after the collision at issue.
Time was of the essence as mediation was approaching and the defense had not focused on the importance of the findings in the MRI and their experts had not reviewed the MRI imaging. Within about a week, the colorized images were prepared and sent to Mr. Kahn the day before Thanksgiving. He immediately forwarded the images to defense counsel so the insurance carrier would have them in time for the mediation about a week away. He believed the images would show the defense’s excuses and attempts to blame the other collisions were objectively wrong.
He used the six images as part of the mediation presentation. The case settled for $400,000, four times the amount offered before he filed suit and pre-mediation.
“I know the power of using images to tell the client’s story and how they can be used to deflate the defense. The images Focus Graphics created made a big impact and helped the client obtain justice. It was clear that after the images were sent, defense counsel had reviewed them with their experts and they were going to create a problem for the defense. I would not hesitate to call Seton and his group to work on any illustration, animation or timeline. The turnaround time was prompt and the price reasonable.”
~Justin Kahn, Esq., Charleston, SC | Kahn Law Firm
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