In this case, a 53-year-old married man suffered serious injuries in a rear-end motor vehicle accident in Marlborough, Massachusetts. This man’s injuries required two neck operations. Following thorough and extensive litigation, we secured a $300,000 settlement the day before trial.
Summary of the Accident
Our client was a front seat passenger in his motor vehicle that was being driven by his wife. At approximately 10:00 pm they came to a complete stop at a red light in Marlborough. While our client and his wife were waiting at the red light, the defendant negligently and carelessly crashed into the rear of our client’s car.
The defendant was an 18-year-old man that was driving around with his friends at the time of the crash. The police were called and responded to the accident scene. An ambulance also responded to the accident scene, but our client refused to be transported to the hospital and went home that night.
Our client’s vehicle sustained approximately $3,500 worth of damage but was able to be driven from the scene. The defendant, likewise, drove his vehicle from the accident scene. This was important because the defendant later claimed that his brakes failed which was the cause of the crash.
Overview of Injuries & Treatment
The day after the accident our client presented to the emergency department of the UMass -Marlborough Hospital. He had complaints of neck and back pain. X-rays were taken and confirmed that he did not suffer any broken bones in his neck or back. He was ordered to follow up with an orthopedic spine specialist.
Eventually, this man came under the care of a neurosurgeon at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. An magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of his cervical spine revealed a severely herniated disc at the C4-C5 level. Within less than four months after the accident, this man underwent an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. His recovery from the neck surgery was tough. He was then treated by a neurosurgeon in the Spine Clinic at Emerson Hospital in Concord, MA. That surgeon determined that this client required another cervical spine fusion.
In the second neck operation the cervical plate and screws from the first operation were removed and the cervical disc at C6-C7 was removed and the vertebrae from C4-C7 were fused with new allograft and plate and screws.
In addition to the two surgeries, this man attended numerous physical therapy sessions and had numerous cortisone injections.
The Litigation of the Car Accident Case
A personal injury claim was initially filed on behalf of this client. However, we could sense from the beginning that the auto insurance company was going to employ the typical tactics to try and minimize our client’s injuries and damages. Some factors that presented some significant issues in the case was that this man had suffered neck and back injuries in a work-related accident in the past. As a result of that work accident, this man was deemed to be permanently disabled and was receiving social security disability benefits.
Attorney Charles S. Pappas then filed a negligence lawsuit against the driver of the other car in the Middlesex Superior Court. The case proceeded in the discovery phase of the lawsuit. Ultimately, this case came down to a battle of the medical experts.
We had an orthopedic spine specialist and surgeon as our expert, who formed the opinion that the rear-end collision was the direct and unequivocal cause of our client’s neck injuries and surgeries. The defense and insurance company used an expert that concluded that the neck surgeries were not a result of the car accident but were from preexisting neck injuries.
The parties attempted to resolve this case at a mediation. The auto insurance company continued to low-ball the plaintiff and the case was not resolved at that time. Attorney Pappas then continued with thorough, methodical litigation and trial preparations. On the day before the trial, we secured a $300,000 settlement for this client. This was four times the amount that was offered at mediation.
The plaintiff made a decent recovery from his injuries and was very happy with the results in his case.