REAR-END COLLISION, BACK INJURY CASE ENDS IN $35,000 SETTLEMENT
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At the time of her auto accident, P.M. was 68-years-old. She suffered headaches and back pain as a result of a rear-end collision and went on to seek treatment, finally earning a settlement of $35,000 after two and a half years.
On the afternoon of May 13, 2014, P.M. was driving her 2004 Honda Civic northbound on Cooper Road in the number three lane when she noticed that traffic in front of her had slowed to a stop. P.M. brought her vehicle to a complete stop when the car behind her rear ended her vehicle.
The Mesa Police Department responded to the scene and began conducting an investigation. After speaking with all four drivers involved, Mesa Police concluded that the at-fault driver had been driving northbound on Cooper Road and changed lanes from the number two lane to the number three lane. The at-fault driver noticed the traffic in the number three lane was at a stop and slammed on his breaks but was unable to stop in time to avoid a collision. The at-fault driver rear ended the vehicle behind P.M. causing that vehicle to hit the back P.M.’s vehicle and then causing P.M. to hit the vehicle in front of her. The police cited the at-fault driver for speed greater than reasonable and prudent. The driver of the first vehicle hit by the at-fault driver was transported to the hospital. P.M. did not require an ambulance, and drove her vehicle from the scene of the accident.
The at-fault driver 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, due to increasing and bothersome pain, P.M. presented to Banner Gateway Medical Hospital where she was diagnosed with headaches, post-concussion syndrome, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, chronic pain and backache. She was prescribed pain medications.
Treatment and Medical Expenses
Due to her continued pain, P.M. presented to Desert Spine and Sports Physicians where she was diagnosed with radiculopathy of thoracic and lumbar spine, lumbago, lumbar spondylosis, degenerative disc disease of lumbar spine and skin, and disturbance of sensation. She was advised for EMG/NCV studies and to continue home exercises.
Following her treatment with Desert Spine and Sports Physicians, P.M. presented to Strength Training Inc. Medical where she was diagnosed with low back pain, stiffness in spine, pelvis and muscle spasm. She was started on a course of physical therapy.
P.M. then presented to Neurological Physicians of Arizona where she was diagnosed with cervicalgia. She was ordered an MRI of brain and Circle of Willis and carotid ultrasound. She was treated with Cognitive-Linguistic therapy.
Additionally, P.M. presented to Desert Pain Institute where she was recommended to undergo lumbar medial branch block and facet joint injection.
P.M. treated with Neurological Physicians of Arizona a total of seven times over the course of two and a half months. She treated with Strength Training Inc. Medical a total of 21 times over the course of four months and with Desert Spine and Sports Physicians a total of five times over the course of two and a half months.
P.M.’s medical bills totaled $21,305.89.
P.M. had health insurance at the time of the accident and used her health insurance to defray some of the costs of treatment which resulted from the injuries caused by this accident. The health insurance company received reimbursement for the amounts paid out on P.M.’s behalf as a result of this accident, from the final bodily injury settlement.
P.M. had car insurance at the time of the accident through Allstate Fire & Casualty Insurance Company. Because of the severity of P.M.’s injuries, she received $25,000 from her own Underinsured Motorist Policy. This settlement was reached after litigation concluded, over two and a half years after the accident occurred.
The at-fault driver had car insurance at the time of the accident through Geico Indemnity Company. Geico accepted full liability for this accident. However, due to Geico’s unwillingness to make an acceptable offer, litigation was necessary in this matter. Litigation was entered into about 14 months after the accident occurred and lasted around 17 months before settlement was reached. After entering into litigation, P.M. settled prior to trial for $10,000.
Conclusion and Compensation
P.M.’s total settlement was $35,000. This settlement includes the $10,000 paid by the at-fault driver’s car insurance and the $25,000 paid by P.M.’s own car insurance underinsured motorist policy. Total settlement took over two and a half years to be reached due to litigation.
P.M. was pleased with the results of her case, despite the length of time it took to reach final settlement. She was able to receive the treatment necessary to return to the state of well-being she was in prior to the accident without incurring significant out of pocket expense, she received compensation for her pain and suffering, and had her vehicle repaired.
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