Rear Ended in Three Car Collision
WRSH Partner Kenneth Halperin obtained a $1,500,000 settlement for a 46 year-old woman who was injured when her vehicle was struck in the rear as part of a three car collision.
The accident in question occurred when vehicle one, operated by one of the defendants struck vehicle two in the rear and vehicle two then struck plaintiff's vehicle in the rear. The operator of Vehicle one claimed that vehicle two changed lanes suddenly, cutting him off and caused the accident. Plaintiff's vehicle had minimal visible damage. (Vehicle one had a large insurance policy whereas Vehicle two had a minimum policy ($25,000). If Vehicle one was found free of negligence we would have been limited to a $25, 000 recovery).
Plaintiff was taken to the hospital where she complained of lower back pain. She admitted to the Ambulance attendants that she had been experiencing lower back pain prior to the accident. She denied injury to any other parts of her body. She had had chiropractic treatment in the past for neck and back pain.
After her release from the hospital plaintiff began to experience pain in her cervical spine and right shoulder. She ultimately underwent an arthroscopic surgery on her right shoulder for impingement syndrome and a partial rotator cuff tear. She also underwent a discectomy and fusion at C5-6 and at L5-S1.
Plaintiff was not employed at the time of the accident and had not worked for many years prior thereto, so there was no loss of earnings claim.
Defendants contended that with respect to her lumbar and cervical spine plaintiff had pre-existing conditions. They argued that her condition was unrelated to the accident. They also contended that the injuries, if any, to her cervical spine and right shoulder were not related to the accident because her complaints regarding those body parts did not occur close in time to the happening of the accident. Defendants also hired a bio-mechanical expert who was going to opine that the forces involved in the accident were insufficient to cause the injuries and surgeries that plaintiff underwent.
Ken attended a mediation where the defendants refused to make any offers above $250,000 unless we agreed that the case would settle for under one million dollars. Ken refused to do that and the mediation came to an abrupt end. Shortly thereafter, the mediator said the insurance carrier contacted her to resume negotiations and made an offer of one million ($1,000,000) million dollars. Ken continued the negotiations until the case settled for one million five hundred thousand ($1,500,000) dollars.