PASSENGER’S PERSISTENT BACK PAIN EARNS $12,600 SETTLEMENT
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A 17-year-old female, D.P., was injured as a passenger in her friend’s vehicle and was awarded a $12,600 settlement for almost $7,000 in medical bills and pain and suffering as a result of this solo-vehicle accident.
The accident occurred on October 2, 2015 around 3:15 in the afternoon. D.P. was riding in the front passenger seat of her friend’s 2007 Ford Mustang at the time of the accident. The driver was preparing to take a right-hand turn at the stop sign from North Cheshire Road onto East Farmdale Road in Arizona. However, the driver hit the accelerator pedal too hard and lost control of the vehicle, causing the vehicle to hit two trees on the side of the road. The vehicle sustained significant damage.
The Mesa Police Department responded to the scene of the accident to conduct an investigation. After interviewing the driver, Mesa Police concluded that the driver had failed to control his speed in order to avoid a collision and cited him at the scene. The vehicle was towed from the scene of the accident. Neither persons involved needed immediate medical attention.
The at-fault party was cited at the scene with violating A.R.S. 28-701A, failure to control speed to avoid a collision. “A person shall not drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances, conditions and actual and potential hazards then existing. A person shall control the speed of a vehicle as necessary to avoid colliding with any object, person, vehicle or other conveyance on, entering or adjacent to the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to exercise reasonable care for the protection of others.” http://www.azleg.gov/ars/28/00701.htm
Three days after the collision, as D.P.’s pain resulting from the accident increased and persisted, she presented to Southwest Spine & Rehab where she was diagnosed with intervertebral disc with radiculopathy in the lumbosacral region, sprain of cervical, thoracic and lumbar ligaments, muscle spasm of back, chronic post-traumatic headache, segmental and somatic dysfunction of cervical and lumbar regions and other kyphosis of the cervical curve. Southwest Spine & Rehab treated her with chiropractic therapy and recommended x-rays and follow-up treatment at SimonMed.
Treatment and Medical Expenses
As per Dr. Taylor’s orders, D.P. presented to SimonMed and underwent an X-ray of the lumbosacral spine that revealed no acute fracture or malalignment, but moderate fecal retention. Further, an MRI of the lumbar spine revealed a posterior disc herniation, which was left foraminal at L4-5. There was also extruded disc material migrating superiorly along the posterior surface of the L4 vertebral body. This herniation was superimposed on a diffuse disc bulge. There was effacement of the anterior thecal sac. There was mild central canal stenosis to the left to 1.0 cm. There was mild to moderate left foraminal stenosis.
Despite chiropractic therapy, D.P.’s pain continued, so she presented to Arizona Pain Treatment Centers, where she was diagnosed with sacroiliac joint arthropathy, lumbosacral radiculopathy, lumbar facet arthropathy, low back pain and myalgia and myositis. She was recommended to consider medial branch block with radiofrequency ablation and a fluoroscopically guided sacroiliac joint injection procedure.
D.P. treated with Arizona Pain Treatment Centers for a total of 4 visits over the course of three months. She treated with Southwest Spine & Rehab for a total of 26 visits over the course of four months.
Her medical bills totaled $6,931.31.
D.P. did not make a lost wages claim as a result of this accident because D.P. did not have a job at the time of the accident or during the following treatment. Additionally, she did not suffer vehicle damages as the accident occurred in her friend’s vehicle.
D.P. did have health insurance at the time of the accident and used it to help defray some of the costs of treatment. However, D.P.’s health insurance did not seek reimbursement for the moneys paid on D.P.’s behalf.
Because this accident only involved one vehicle and D.P. was a passenger in that vehicle at the time of the accident, D.P. did not use a personal car insurance policy.
The driver of the vehicle D.P. was a passenger in had car insurance through AAA Insurance. AAA Insurance accepted full liability for D.P.’s injuries as a result of this accident.
D.P.’s total settlement was $12,600. It took around 10 and a half months to reach settlement in this matter. In addition to D.P.’s bodily injury settlement, she was also able to receive some payment for her medical bills through the driver’s insurance’s medical payments policy. The total medical payment made was $1,000.
D.P. was pleased with the results of her case. She was able to receive the treatment she needed to return to the state of well-being she was in prior to the accident with no out of pocket cost, and she received compensation for her pain and suffering. D.P. treated for a total of five months as a result of this accident. Ultimately, D.P. received $3,240.76 for her bodily injuries and $1,000 from the med pay policy, the remainder of the settlement going to pay her medical bills and attorney’s fees and cost.