$249,000 Settlement for School Crossing Guard

orange county personal injury attorney, accident attorney orange countyMarie D. was an 81 year old woman serving as a school crossing guard when she was hit in a school crossing by a car. When she was hit by the car, Marie was wearing her required yellow crossing guard jacket and holding up a hand held stop sign.

The car hit Marie on her left side.  The force of the collision spun her to the right and she fell to the street on the right side of her body.  Police were called and she was taken by ambulance to a local hospital emergency room.  After being examined and X-rayed, with no broken bones found by the doctors, Marie was discharged.

Over the next few days, Marie started experiencing pain in her low back, right sacroiliac joint, right thigh and right knee.  She was examined by several additional physicians who prescribed more pain medications, X-rays and MRI’s.  These doctors also ordered physical therapy.  Even after going through this additional treatment, however, Marie remained symptomatic in her low back, right sacroiliac joint, right thigh and right knee.

Marie then retained John P. Burns as her attorney.  Mr. Burns obtained a referral for Marie to a medical facility where she was seen by medical doctors with extensive motor vehicle accident experience.  One of the physicians at that facility injected Marie’s right knee and was able to stop Marie’s right knee pain.  Marie still had pain, however, in her low back, right sacroiliac joint and right thigh.

Mr. Burns also knew that the insurance company of the driver who hit Marie usually refused to pay unless faced with a trial. Accordingly, Mr. Burns filed suit in the Orange County Superior Court against the driver who hit Marie.

Mr. Burns then assisted Marie in obtaining a referral to a highly skilled neurosurgeon.  The neurosurgeon began working with an experienced pain management physician in the administration of diagnostic pain management injections. This was done by the physicians to pinpoint the exact areas which were causing Marie’s low back, right sacroiliac joint and right thigh pain.

Working with the neurosurgeon, the pain management physician was able to relieve Marie’s low back pain with injections.  After some additional diagnostic injections, the neurosurgeon and pain management physician were also able to relieve Marie’s right sacroiliac joint pain.

The neurosurgeon then determined that Marie’s right thigh pain was not coming from a nerve injury and advised a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon.  Mr. Burns obtained a referral for Marie to a highly skilled and experienced orthopedic surgeon.  The orthopedic surgeon determined that Marie’s right thigh pain was coming from a fluid filled sac in the right hip called the right hip trochanteric bursa. The orthopedic surgeon injected Marie’s right hip bursa and the right thigh pain stopped.

As the case approached trial, Mr. Burns demanded that the driver’s insurance company pay Marie their insured’s maximum insurance policy limits of $250,000. The insurance company refused to pay but did ask for a non-binding mediation with a retired Orange County Superior Court judge.  Mr. Burns and Marie agreed.  At the mediation the insurance company offered Marie $80,000 to settle but would not offer any more.  Marie and Mr. Burns declined the insurance company offer.  The case was scheduled to start trial two weeks after the date of the mediation.

One week before trial, a Mandatory Settlement Conference was held before a judge in the Orange County Superior Court.  At the settlement conference Mr. Burns advised the judge that he and Marie were prepared to go to trial if the insurance company would not pay their insured’s policy limits of $250,000.  At the end of the conference, the insurance company offered to pay $249,000 to settle the case, Marie agreed to settle for that amount and the settlement was put on the record by the judge.

Attorney John P. Burns was glad to be able to assist Marie in finding physicians who had the knowledge, training and experience to get her pain under control. In addition, Mr. Burns believes that when you have a strong case it pays to file a lawsuit and force the insurance company of the person who caused the accident to pay.

If you have been in an accident and think you need legal assistance, please call us at 949-496-7000.  The first call is always free.