A Serious Bus Crash Injures Our Client’s Neck
In 2014, our client, CD, was riding as a passenger on a bus. He had just finished his shift working for an airline company. The bus was turning left at a light. The bus driver was required to yield to oncoming traffic. Unfortunately, the bus driver failed to follow the traffic rules and turned left in front of a van. The crash was serious as the van hit the bus at a high rate of speed.
CD had neck and back pain shortly after the wreck. The next day he went to the doctor. He started treating with an orthopedic doctor. An MRI of his neck showed that he had herniated discs in his neck and stenosis. Stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal. A herniated disc can be problematic in patients with stenosis because the spinal canal is already narrowed. A disc herniating, or protruding, into the spinal canal can cause more symptoms and require more urgent attention.
CD experienced a number of symptoms related to his neck injury. His neck itself hurt. He also experienced numbness and tingling in his hands. These types of symptoms can happen when a disc is herniated. The numbness and tingling is normally felt in the body part where the nerves in the spinal colum are being affected by the herniated disc. CD tried his best to recover without requiring surgery but all other treatments failed. The only solution was a fusion procedure at three levels in his neck.
CD underwent the three-level cervical fusion surgery in the hospital. The doctor removed the injured discs in his spine and replaced them with artificial disc material. He then inserted a plate and screws to fuse the different vertebrae together.
CD had to undergo extensive physical therapy after the surgery. He was never able to return to his job at the airport. He took a much lower paying, and less rewarding, job. He continued to experience pain and limitations as a result of his injuries.
Another Law Firm Asks The Champion Firm for Help
CD originally hired another law firm to represent him. After nearly two years of being his lawyers, they were unable to get him a settlement offer. The insurance company for the bus was denying liability. It claimed that the other driver in the van was at fault for speeding.
The law firm CD hired contacted us shortly before the statute of limitations was set to expire and asked us to take over the case. We immediately filed a lawsuit. We asked for multiple documents and evidence related to the crash. The bus company produced a video from a camera inside the bus. This clearly showed that the bus driver could see the van and should not have turned left. We also took multiple depositions that showed the bus driver had been fatigued and should have never been driving that day.
We prepared the case for trial. We took the deposition of the surgeon that operated on CD’s neck and videotaped it so we could play it for the jury. We also ordered a medical illustration that demonstrated the surgery in great detail so the surgeon could use it in his deposition to explain his testimony. Medical illustrations can be great tools to demonstrate medical procedures to a jury because it actually shows them what was done.
The Bus Company Settles
More than three years after our client was injured, and a year and a half of litigation, the insurance company asked to go to mediation. Darl Champion handled the mediation presentation. The presentation included deposition testimony, footage from the camera on the bus, and video excerpts from the surgeon’s deposition. The insurance company wanted to settle at the mediation, but it was not offering full value. The parties left the mediation. Several weeks later they asked to return to mediation. This time, they agreed to settle for $1,250,00.
This settlement was a great result for our client. One of the remarkable things about it is that it was several hundred thousand dollars more than what the referring law firm demanded before it sent us the case. Had the case settled before it got to us, it is likely that CD would have gotten a fraction of what he ultimately recovered in his case. This case is an example of why it is important to choose the right lawyer for your case from the beginning. If you choose a settlement mill, or an inexperienced lawyer, you may end up getting far less than what you deserve.