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Car Accident Lawsuit Filed After Low-Ball Insurance Offer
Scottsdale Injury Lawyers recently filed a car accident lawsuit on behalf of our client. The client was involved in a moderate impact car accident. Specifically, the client was rear-ended from behind by a commercial vehicle. The client suffered a neck injury as a result of the impact.
The insurance company for the at-fault driver refused to pay a reasonable amount to settle her car accident claim. As a result, our injury lawyers filed a lawsuit on the client’s behalf. The lawsuit was filed in the Maricopa County Superior Court. It was assigned to the honorable Judge Melissa Julian.
Details about the Car Accident
On December 13, 2021, at approximately 1:45 PM, the client was operating a vehicle traveling near 67th Avenue and Peoria Avenue in Phoenix, Arizona. The client exited the offramp of Interstate 101 and was waiting to merge onto 67th Avenue. A driver working for Hendley Communications, Inc. was driving a van behind her. The client came to a complete stop and checked if it was clear to turn onto 67th Avenue. As she looked to her left, the van crashed into the back of her car causing a rear end accident.
The Damage to the Client’s Vehicle
The damage to the client’s vehicle was not extensive. She had damage to her rear bumper that was mostly cosmetic. The total to repair her rear bumper was approximately $1,500.
A Crash Does Not Need to Be High-Impact to Cause Injury
The client was still injured even though the impact was not at a high rate of speed. The client suffered a neck injury that she treated for. There were objective findings of damage to her neck.
Many things can cause a cervical spinal injury. The spine contains many nerves and complex anatomical processes. As a result, a wrong movement or a sudden impact can cause injury. Even sleeping wrong or turning your head in an unnatural way can trigger an injury response.
It is well-documented that injury can occur to the spine and surrounding muscles and tendons even without a high energy impact. One study found that 60% of whiplash cases occurred at speeds lower than ten miles per hour and “when only a relatively slight vehicle deformation occurs.” Another study concluded that most whiplash cases occur in a low impact energy collision and that there was no correlation between impact severity and injury outcome.
One study found that 60% of whiplash cases occurred at speeds lower than ten miles per hour
However, despite these studies, insurance companies continue to discredit injuries that occur when significant vehicle damage is not present. This often results in injured individuals not receiving full compensation for their injuries. Instead, they are offered minimal amounts and the medical treatment they underwent is discounted when seeking a settlement.
The Cervical Spinal Injury the Client Sustained in the Car Accident
The client who suffered the injury was a gainfully employed registered nurse. In the week that followed the accident, she attempted to treat her injuries at home with Ibuprofen and a heating pad. After a week, when her problems persisted, she presented to an urgent care facility for evaluation. Specifically, she went for the unresolved and increased pain, stiffness, decreased range of motion in her neck and upper back. She also reported headaches radiating from the base of her skull, and numbness and tingling in her arm.
Due to the severity of her symptoms, an x-ray of her cervical spine was ordered. This showed anatomical abnormalities in her cervical spine. She was prescribed pain and anti-inflammatory medication and instructed to attend physical therapy. She was diagnosed with the following: Cervicalgia M54.2, Cervical Radiculopathy M54.12 and Trapezius muscle spasm M62.838.
The Physical Therapy Treatment the Client Underwent
Three weeks following the crash, the client began physical therapy. An initial evaluation documented decreased cervical range of motion, cervical hypomobility, cervicothoracic soft-tissue dysfunction, and pain limiting her functional range of motion. By this point, the client had experienced three weeks of pain and problems including difficulty sleeping at night. She was assigned physical therapy treatment 2 times a week for 8 weeks.
After several weeks of physical therapy, the client did not believe physical therapy was improving her condition. She underwent an MRI of her cervical spine due to unresolved and acute neck and shoulder pain. The results of the MRI showed loss of disc space and bulging at two levels in her cervical spine.
The client met with an orthopedic surgeon. The orthopedic surgeon recommended that the client proceed with epidural steroid injections in her neck to help decrease inflammation and pain. However, the client was apprehensive about getting injections in her spine. She opted to continue conservative treatment and at-home exercises. In sum, she did not overtreat in an effort to increase her medical expenses.
The Low-Ball Offer Received from the Insurance Company
Our attorneys sent the insurance company for the at-fault driver all the medical records and bills. We did so for purposes of resolving the injury claim. Typically, an insurance company will pay all injury-related medical expenses and pain and suffering on top of that.
However, the insurance company made a low-ball offer. They did not even offer to cover the full amount of the client’s medical expenses. The client’s medical expenses were $9,527. The insurance company only offered $4,060. This was less than half of her medical expenses incurred with no meaningful amount offered for pain and suffering.
The insurance adjuster decided that she wanted to play attorney and medical doctor. She concluded that the client’s physical therapy expenses should be discounted. She further refused to pay for the client’s MRI and visit to the orthopedic surgeon. In her opinion, they were not related to the crash.
Essentially, she did not believe our client was injured in the crash. The client is a gainfully employed, highly educated, medical professional. She has never had a car accident case or injury related claim in her life. She certainly was not faking her need for medical treatment and seeking out medical care to earn a few bucks. This is especially true given that she could earn much more in her profession than she ever could attending medical appointments to inflate an injury claim.
The Car Accident Lawsuit was Filed
We filed a lawsuit on behalf of our client. We did not file it because it made business-sense for our law firm. In reality, the extra work involved to file and litigate a lawsuit is significant. There are costs involved and numerous hours will be spent during the litigation process. Our firm will actually lose money and not profit from litigating the case.
The incremental increase in settlement value will not justify the additional work and numerous hours expended in litigation. However, that is precisely what the insurance company was banking on. We refuse to let that happen and we will not let the insurance company win.
When our law firm takes a case, we make a commitment to the client to ensure that they are treated fairly and not abused by an insurance carrier.
When our law firm takes a case, we make a commitment to the client to ensure that they are treated fairly and not abused by an insurance carrier. We are also sending a message to insurance carriers that we are not like other firms who advertise heavily but are unwilling to go to court. The insurance adjuster likely believed that we would settle for her low-ball offer and not litigate the case because it did not make financial sense for our firm to do so. Now she knows she was wrong. We will fight to get what our client deserves and make sure that she receives fair compensation.
Contact an Experienced Injury Attorney to Handle Your Car Accident Case
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident and are getting the run-around from an insurance company, contact our law firm today. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will fight to see that you get every cent you deserve. A consultation is free and we only get paid if we recover for you. An attorney is available now to take your call.
About the author: The content on this page was provided by Scottsdale personal injury attorney and civil rights lawyer Tony Piccuta. Piccuta graduated with honors from Indiana University-Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana (Previously Ranked Top 35 US News & World Report). Piccuta took and passed the State bars of Arizona, California, Illinois and Nevada (all on the first try). He actively practices throughout Arizona and California. He is a trial attorney that regularly handles serious personal injury cases and civil rights lawsuits. He has obtained six and seven figure verdicts in both state and federal court. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers for six years straight. He is a member of the Arizona Association of Justice, Maricopa County Bar Association, Scottsdale Bar Association, American Association for Justice, National Police Accountability Project and Consumer Attorneys of California, among other organizations.
Disclaimer: The information on this web site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information on this page is attorney advertising. Reading and relying upon the content on this page does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, you should contact our law firm for a free consultation and to discuss your specific case and issues.