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Head & Back Injuries in DUI Auto Accident


For the protection of our clients’ identities, Thompson Law Firm uses initials to represent the victim in each case. The privacy and security of our clients is of the highest importance to us. The purpose of these case studies is solely to establish the importance of each client’s experience with Thompson Law Firm and our ability to fight on their behalf for optimal personal injury compensation.

C.L., a 36-year-old female, was injured on her shoulder, head, and back when her vehicle was rear-ended by the at-fault driver. As a result of the accident, which occurred in Arizona, the victim enlisted a personal injury attorney and sought damages from the at-fault party. With medical bills totaling over $18,000, C.L. was ultimately compensated for her injuries, pain and suffering, lost wages, and vehicle damage with a $40,000 settlement.

The Scene

At 6:15 p.m. on November 29, 2015, C.L. was driving her 2013 Nissan Altima with her son in the car, eastbound on Wild Horse Pass Boulevard just past Maricopa Road in Chandler, Arizona. C.L. was stopped in the number one lane at the traffic light waiting for the traffic ahead of her to move forward. The vehicle behind C.L. collided with the back of her vehicle pushing her into the vehicle stopped in front of her.

The Gila River Police Department responded to the accident and conducted an investigation. During the course of the investigation, the Gila River Police determined that the at-fault driver was impaired by alcohol at the time of the accident. The at-fault driver was cited for Aggravated DUI at the scene of the accident. C.L. and her son refused emergency transport and medical assistance. C.L.’s vehicle would not start and was towed from the scene.

Applicable Law

The at-fault party was cited at the scene for violating A.R.S. § 8-1383A2, Aggravated DUI, third DUI. “A person is guilty of aggravated driving or actual physical control while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs if the person does any of the following: 2. Within a period of eighty-four months commits a third or subsequent violation of section 28-1381, section 28-1382 or this section or is convicted of a violation of section 28-1381, section 28-1382 or this section and has previously been convicted of any combination of convictions of section 28-1381, section 28-1382 or this section or acts in another jurisdiction that if committed in this state would be a violation of section 28-1381, section 28-1382 or this section.”

Initial Injuries

On the day of the accident, C.L. presented to Chandler Regional Medical Center with acute right shoulder pain, acute chest wall pain, back pain, and headache. In order to control her pain, C.L. was prescribed pain medications. While at the hospital, C.L had a CT of her head and cervical spine done as well as x-rays of her chest and right shoulder.

Treatment and Medical Expenses

Three days after her hospital visit, C.L. went to Eric Cerre, NMD. Dr. Cerre diagnosed C.L. with disc disorder with myelopathy of the right mid-cervical region, disc disorder with myelopathy of the right cervicothoracic region, cervical sprain/strain, lumbar sprain/strain, sacrum sprain/strain, right shoulder sprain/strain, right thoracic wall contusion, anxiety, post-traumatic acute headache, and myofascitis. Dr. Cerre provided prescriptions for pain medication and ordered MRI and X-rays of her neck, shoulder, and lower back. Dr. Cerre treated her with physical therapy. Due to C.L.’s continued pain, Dr. Cerre administered three Lidocaine and Marcaine trigger point injections to C.L.’s neck, shoulder, and back muscles.

As per Dr. Cerre’s orders, C.L. underwent an MRI of her cervical spine and right shoulder and X-ray of her lumbar spine. Her cervical MRI reports showed loss of normal lordotic curvature with C4-5 and C5-6 posterior central disc herniation, elevation of the posterior longitudinal ligament and effacement of the anterior thecal sac, flattening of the anterior surface of the spinal cord and central canal stenosis. Regarding her shoulder, C.L.’s MRI reports revealed increased signals in her shoulder muscles consistent with tendinopathy, a small amount of subacromial and subdeltoid fluid, minimal acromioclavicular joint degenerative change with small shoulder joint effusion. Her lumbar X-ray report showed no abnormality.

C.L. was referred to Scott Taylor, DC, for continuing chiropractic therapy. As per referral, C.L. presented to Southwest Spine & Rehab where Scott Taylor, DC diagnosed C.L. with cervical region radiculopathy, sprain of thoracic ligaments, sprain of lumbar ligaments, kyphosis, reduced cervical curve, muscle spasms of the back, segmental and somatic dysfunction of the cervical region, segmental and somatic dysfunction of the thoracic region, and segmental and somatic dysfunction of the lumbar region. Dr. Taylor started C.L. on a course of chiropractic therapy including therapeutic modalities. Hence, C.L. treated with Southwest Spine & Rehab for less than a month, a total of 5 visits. C.L. treated with Dr. Cerre for less than a month, a total of six visits.

Her total medical bills were $18,389.22.

Additional Losses

The estimated value of the repairs to C.L.’s vehicle was $2,470.40. Additionally, C.L. made a diminished value claim on her vehicle for $761.09. C.L.’s vehicle lost value, even after the repairs were finishing, as a result of this accident.

C.L. made a claim for lost wages as she was unable to work for at least four weeks due to incapacitating pain and in order to receive treatment. Therefore, C.L.’s claim for lost wages was for $8,000-$10,000.

Insurance Involvement

C.L. had health insurance at the time of the accident but she did not use it in the course of her treatment.

C.L. had car insurance at the time of the accident through American Family Mutual Insurance Company. Because of the severity of C.L.’s injuries, she received $25,000 from her own Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Policy about six months after the accident occurred. Her premiums did not increase as a result of using her own car insurance to supplement her bodily injury settlement.

The at-fault driver has car insurance at the time of the accident through Mendota Insurance Company. Further, Mendota Insurance Company paid C.L. $15,000 to settle her claim about five months after the accident occurred.

Conclusion and Compensation

As the victim in this case, C.L.’s total settlement was $40,000. This settlement includes $15,000 paid by the at-fault driver’ car insurance. The $25,000 amount paid by C.L.’s own car insurance from the Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Policy. Settlement took around six months to be reaching in this matter.

In conclusion, C.L. was happy with the results of this case. As a matter of fact, she was in treatment for under two months and was able to receive the treatment necessary to return to the state of wellness she was in prior to the accident. Hence, C.L. received $18,000 for her bodily injuries in this settlement. However, she balanced her compensation by paying her medical bills and attorney’s fees and costs.

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