Our office recovered $85,000.00 for our client who was involved in the all too common “rear-ender” auto accident.
In this case, our client, a fifty-seven year old woman, was simply rear-ended while driving on the expressway. Naturally, the insurance carrier felt that our client sustained only minor injuries.
In many rear-ender auto accidents, the insurance carrier will claim that there were no injuries, or only minor injuries, sustained in the accident. And, they will support this claim on the fact that there was no ambulance involved. Or that the client did not go to the hospital the day of the accident. Or that the client did not go to the hospital at all until days later.
Even in those cases in which the client does go to the hospital immediately from the scene, the hospital record may not fully reflect the extent of the injury. Quite often the areas of pain the day after the accident will be substantially different than the pain noticed the day before. Or, sometimes severe pain to one body part may mask an injury to another body part. Very simply, how one feels immediately after an accident may be entirely different days, even weeks later.
In this case, our client went to the emergency room three days in a row complaining of headaches, dizziness, vomiting, and back pain. Seven months later, our client had an MRI of the left shoulder, confirming a rotator cuff tear. Naturally, the insurance carrier refused the claim for a left shoulder injury, stating that our client did not injure her shoulder in the accident. Specifically, the insurance carrier claimed, correctly, that our client had no left shoulder complaints the day of the accident. And that our client had no complaints of shoulder pain on the three hospital visits following the accident. Therefore, our client did not injure her shoulder from the accident.
This scenario happens quite frequently in auto accidents. That is, many times a client will sustain injuries that do not fully manifest themselves until weeks, sometimes months after the incident. This usually occurs when a person sustains other painful injuries that attract most of their attention. Other, more serious but less painful injuries, are simply not noticed or not given adequate attention. A week or so later, when the distracting and painful injury subsides, the more serious injury begins to become noticeable.
This type of injury can be seen with ligament tears, such as tears to the ligaments or tendons of the shoulders or knees. Quite often, the injury is not very painful at first. It is only when the injury does not seem to get any better that the client gives it his full attention.
In this case, our client ended up tearing the ligament in her left shoulder. She underwent shoulder arthroscopic surgery involving rotator cuff repair. The surgery was performed one year after the accident.
The insurance company refused the claim and a lawsuit was filed. It was only after extensive litigation that the insurance carrier accepted liability.
If you are involved in an auto accident, you may have injuries that you do not think are serious, but are. These injuries may require medical attention sooner or later. The longer you wait to document your injuries, the more likely that the insurance carrier will deny your claim.
Don’t wait until the insurance carrier denies your claim. Call the Law Office of Charles J. Gale.