Believe it or not, you can be involved in an auto accident even when you’re stopped at a traffic light. This is exactly what happened to Fred, an off-duty juvenile detention center officer from Charlotte County, Florida. He was just sitting in his car at a traffic light on a three-lane highway when a huge tractor-trailer approached him from behind.
A lane change for the worse
Suddenly, the tractor-trailer decides it wants to try and squeeze past Fred’s car and into the open left-hand turn lane. Unfortunately, the driver of the tractor-trailer misjudges the space he has to squeeze by, and ends up side-swiping Fred’s car and in doing so, cuts the driver’s side of the car wide open like a tin can. As it slices along Fred’s car, the tractor-trailer lifts the vehicle in the air and onto its right wheels, and then, as the car becomes unstuck, it falls back down onto the roadway. Fred gets out of his car and is understandably shaken from the impact of the fall and the accident. He trades insurance information with the driver of the tractor-trailer, heads home in his sliced-open car, and tries to shake the whole incident off. However, later in the evening, Fred develops very debilitating back pain. Back pain so bad, that the next day he’s forced to go to the emergency room to get it checked out. Fortunately, they don’t find any fractures, so they give him some medication and he’s told to follow up for therapy, which he does.
Pain in the back turns into a pain in the neck
A few days later Fred goes to his primary doctor and starts physical therapy. While there he gets an MRI of his lower back, which shows acute injury to his discs, which can be a pain generator for the type of pain he’s having. From that point in time, Fred tries to get better with therapy and some pain injections, which only provide transitory relief, so he ultimately decides to undergo the most minimally invasive back surgery he can, a laminectomy. He has the surgery, which offers temporary relief, but starts to have pain all over again and by this time, has incurred plenty of bills in continued treatment for the pain.
A difficult job becomes more unbearable
Before the accident, Fred spent many, many years as a juvenile detention officer. His job was to work security at a center, usually the overnight shift, and make sure there was order and safety for all the juveniles inside. Fred was on his feet all the time and had to be ready to respond quickly if ever there was a fight or a breakout, so it was a very physically demanding job. But based on the radiating pain Fred was having in his back down to his legs due to the accident, he was never really able to go back to the job. The detention center put him on work restriction for a while, which got extended and extended, but finally got to such an unbearable point to where Fred was determined to go on disability. And since he had no other employable skills outside of being a detention officer, and since the detention center had no other position for him, at 62 years old, Fred sadly lost his job.
An alligator comes back to bite Fred
Fred then hires KL Injury Attorneys. We immediately get to work and tried to resolve the case with the insurance company without filing a lawsuit, which was unsuccessful. The insurance company characterized the crash as being a minor impact (despite the evidence showing it was not a minor impact) and contended there was no way our client could be injured, so there was no offer of compensation. We then filed a lawsuit and during the deposition and discovery process, they discovered (which we already knew) that our client had been involved in a car accident about a year and a half before the current crash. Back then he had accidentally hit an alligator while driving on Alligator Alley. Shortly after the alligator accident, Fred started to suffer from back pain, so he got an MRI and after a while, was fine. Fast-forward to the current case and now the insurance company, as most do, start to look deep into our client’s past to find prior evidence of ANY kind of cause or possible event to explain the root cause of his back and leg pain. This is typical of insurance companies. And when they can’t find any prior evidence they’ll blame your age, no matter how old you are, and try to claim your injuries are just the wear and tear of getting old. They close their eyes to all the evidence and try to blame something else. They were happy when our client got an MRI because that shows he was experiencing enough pain to go and get one. However, if you recall, our client had an MRI after the tractor-trailer accident, which showed he had sustained injuries that were different from his first MRI after the alligator accident. The insurance company sees this and still tries to minimize the injuries by calling them a sprain or strain and insisting that our client is going to be fine. They also go to the trouble and put some sneaky surveillance on Fred.
Big Brother insurance company is watching all the time
It’s unfair, but whenever an accident victim makes a claim with an insurance company, the insurance company can and will hire a private investigator to follow the victim around and film all their activities. The only place they can’t film them is when they’re in their house with the blinds down—however, believe it or not, blinds up and everywhere else is fair game. Why would an insurance company do this? They’re hoping to catch the victim doing something they’ve claimed they can’t do, and therefore prove they’re lying about their injuries, then the case will be over. In this instance, the insurance company did hire someone to surveil KL’s client, but they weren’t necessarily hoping to catch him doing something he couldn’t do. Instead, they were hoping to show just how “normal” his everyday life is, therefore he must not be suffering so much from his injuries. This is dishonest because they selectively show, say, seven minutes of film in court, and then argue that this is how the victim lives their life all the time even off camera. It’s very dishonest. They tried it with KL’s client, but it didn’t work.
KL then had to go through depositions of doctors, which included OUR OWN expert, the client’s treating surgeon, who saw both MRIs and unequivocally said that Fred’s injury was clearly from the crash and that he would need further treatment and/or surgery. The case did not go to trial but went to non-binding arbitration where the insurance company brought in THEIR OWN team of experts (a biomechanical expert, an accident reconstructionist, a neurosurgeon, and an orthopedic surgeon) who in KL’s opinion, were unable to dispute the findings of our expert. After all these testimonies, we finally go into a non-binding arbitration. During this process, the arbitrator found FOR our client, and we received a judgment in his favor.
The Bottom Line
In this auto accident case, KL’s preparation, expertise, and unwillingness to settle for anything less than what our client deserved, paid off. The jury awarded Fred a six-figure settlement.
If you’ve suffered a personal injury and need a law firm of experts, who will also get experts to testify in your defense, contact KL Injury Attorneys today. It only takes a few minutes to gain insight into your case at no cost to you.