I’d like to tell you the story about an M.D. client of mine whose car was struck from the rear by a truck in San Juan Capistrano. My client ended up having to have eight surgeries on his low back.
My name is John Burns and I’m a car accident and personal injury attorney. My office is located where Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel and San Juan Capistrano all come together in South Orange County, California.
This case was referred to me by my client’s doctor and the physical therapist who was treating my client. What happened to my client is as follows.
My client was driving on the freeway in San Juan Capistrano, in stop and go traffic, when his vehicle was rear-ended by a truck owned by a construction company. My client’s car was knocked forward by the collision into the car ahead of him. That car was knocked forward into the car ahead of it. The person who was at fault was clearly the driver of the construction company truck.
My client felt immediate pain in his low back. The pain shot down the back of his leg. He went to the emergency room and the hospital doctor ordered an MRI test of his back. They found that a disc in the spine of his low back had been damaged in the collision. The disc tissue in his spine was pressing on a nerve root of his spinal cord and causing shooting pain down the back of his leg.
My client came to see me. He is a very nice person and other than the accident in good physical shape. He is a very easy going person but he had excruciating pain down the back of his leg.
His biggest problem at the time was that the insurance company for this truck driver wouldn’t even talk to him.They wouldn’t even answer his phone calls. Here is what I did for him the first day I met him.
- I got him a rental care, paid for by the construction company’s insurance company.
- I coordinated with his physicians and physical therapists to start building his case.
Then my client went to surgery to get resolution of his back problem. Unfortunately, the surgeon who did the surgery wasn’t able to get a successful result for him. Then my client was forced to start a series of surgeries to try to get the problems resolved.
He went to teaching hospitals to try and get the pain resolved but he couldn’t get relief. He finally ended up going to New York City to a special surgeon there who was able to get him partial relief from the pain. When my client came back from New York, we startede to get the case ready to go to trial. A few weeks before trial the insurance company attorneys asked we would agree to a mediation and my client and I agreed.
Mediation is a meeting held in an office where the lawyer for the injured person, the injured person, the insurance company adjusters and their defense attorneys come together with a retired judge to try to get the case settled. I had known the retired judge that I persuaded the insurance company to agree to use for many years. I knew he would be fair but would also work hard to get my client the settlement he really deserved.
Even though my client was in pain, my client worked very hard with me in preparing for the mediation. My client helped prepare a tremendous power point which we used for a presentation in the mediation. The result of his help was that we had the case in a very powerful and persuasive PowerPoint presentation for the mediation.
Then the insurance company defense attorneys came up with a little trick just before mediation. Here is what they did.
They went back in my client’s medical records and they found that about five years before this accident, my client had seen had seen a doctor for a slight back problem. That doctor had written in the records that he had told my client that he could fix his minor back problem with a mini surgery and that my client would be in outpatient surgery for only one day. He also told my client, however, that he could instead put my client in the hospital for seven days, do a much more involved procedure, and put a spinal cage into my client’s back for stability.
My client took the lesser procedure and had the mini surgery. My clients minor back problem went completely away after just a short time.
Using those records the defense in the case then said to me “If your client had that second more invasive procedure, back five years before the accident, then he wouldn’t have all these problems that he was having recovering from the later accident.” It was ridiculous but they were going to try to defend the case with their theory.
Here’s how we overcame that problem. We went back and found the records of my client’s physical activities between the time of that first small surgery five years ago and the accident I was representing him on. We showed that, after that small surgery, he had become the champion of his golf club, he was a champion tennis player, he ran and jogged every day and that there was nothing wrong with him for five years. So that surgery had obviously worked fine.
When we showed that evidence of his activities as part of our presentation in the power point the whole defense fell apart. That case then settled in mediation for $4,000,000.00.
I hope that you never have an accident that leaves you in the situation my client was in. He is now somewhat better but is still feeling the effects of his very serious injuries.
If you do have a personal injury case, however, I would like to discuss it with you. Please call me to talk about your case now. There is no charge to talk to me. My phone number is (949) 496-7000. You can also e mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for reading this article and watching the video.