How the Accident Happened
This is another example of how distracted driving can cause serious accidents and injuries. On a typical summer day in Hopedale, Massachusetts our client had left work and was driving home. Just down the street from his home, our client was stopped at a red light patiently waiting. As he sat in his truck waiting for the light to turn green, out of nowhere another driver crashed into the back of his truck. The force from the impact caused the rear of the commercial vehicle to be crushed inward by more than a foot and our client to be jolted violently in the cab of his truck.
911 was called due to the seriousness of the accident and obvious injuries our client suffered in the crash. The police arrived along with an ambulance. As is generally routine, the police officers investigated the crash. One of the officers spoke with the woman who rear-ended our client. The woman explained to the officer that she took her eyes off the road briefly.
Although, rear-end collisions are usually not difficult to determine fault, this additional information obtained by the investigating police officer, that the other driver was distracted, answered any questions of who caused the accident.
The Injuries Our Client Suffered in the Crash
The rear-end crash was very serious and our client knew right away he was hurt. He injured his head, neck, and left shoulder. The EMTs on scene evaluated our client at the accident scene and determined that he needed to be transported to the emergency room.
At the emergency room, our client was stabilized and evaluated. X-rays showed no broken bones, but the emergency room doctors were concerned about tendon/ligament damage in the left shoulder. They discharged him from the emergency room and referred him to an orthopedic surgeon.
When our client came under the care of an orthopedic surgeon, the surgeon ordered an MRI right away for his left shoulder. The MRI results revealed a full-thickness tear on the left supraspinatus tendon, a partial tear to the subscapularis, and mild degenerative changes to the glenohumeral joint (e.g., a torn rotator cuff).
Initially, the orthopedic surgeon suggested conservative, nonsurgical treatment, which consisted of physical therapy. The therapy yielded only mild improvements. Since conservative treatment had failed, the surgeon recommended surgical repair. Our client then underwent rotator cuff repair surgery. Following the surgery, he completed a conservative course of physical therapy to help build back his strength and mobility. In the end, this client made a very good recovery but did continue to experience some limitation in his shoulder and residual pain from time to time.
The Settlement Process
Once this client reached an end point with treatment, our office obtained all the medical records and bills. Attorney Mahaney worked closely with the client’s orthopedic surgeon to obtain a professional medical opinion as to the causation of the injuries and any permanent impairment that this client suffered. The surgeon detailed the client’s treatment and medical opinion as to the percentage of impairment using the American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. These Guides define impairment as “a loss, loss of use or derangement of any body part, organ system or organ function.” Although the surgery was deemed a success, the surgeon opined that the client suffered a permanent impairment in his left shoulder as a result of the injury and subsequent surgery.
At the outset, the auto insurance company contended that much of the injury to the shoulder and cervical spine were congenital. However, the surgeon’s report detailing the injury, treatment, surgery and permanent impairment proved otherwise. In the end the insurance company conceded to our view of the case and agreed to pay $150,000.00 to compensate our client for his injuries.