Posted by Gary Burger on November 2, 2018
On November 16, 2014, my client was driving his vehicle southbound on South Breese Street in Waterloo, Illinois when another driver failed to stop at a stop sign and entered the intersection right in front of my client’s car.
The client had back injuries, and complained of back pain at the scene, stating he would seek medical attention on his own.The police report indicated our client had the right-of-way at the intersection.
I settled his claim with the liable party for policy limits of $25,000 with the consent of our client’s insurance company. We then asserted a claim against his med pay and underinsured coverage.
Before the crash our client had no neck or back problems or any treatment for such. Two hours after the crash, he went to Red Bud Regional Hospital with complaints of neck pain, upper back pain, lower back pain, and left leg pain.
He underwent CT scans of his cervical and lumbar spine, which revealed a “prominent bulging disk at L5-S1.” He was discharged that same night, prescribed Percocet for his pain and told to follow up with a doctor for his complaints.
Our client went to an orthopedic surgeon, a physical therapist and a chiropractor. He had injections to try to help control the pain. Eventually he underwent a microlumbar discectomy L5-S1 procedure on at Christian Northeast Hospital. In his post surgical follow up he still had symptoms – no back pain, but continued left leg and neck pain.
But he stopped treating – continuing to work and go to school (he is young). His doctor released Nicholas from all restrictions and told him to follow up if necessary. His medical bills were around $46,000.
His insurance company totally denied the claim initially. So we filed suit in Illinois for the underinsured. Claim. Although a claimant can file a lawsuit, Illinois has mandatory arbitration if the policy so provides – and every policy does.
We kept up the pressure and obtained the medical payment benefits. Then we picked arbitrators and set the arbitration. We did additional discovery depositions etc.
Well, shortly before the arbitration we settled the claim for $130,000 in new money. This is important as the insurance company had a credit for $75,000 against whatever we collected as we had already obtained that relief for our client.
We effectively obtained a $205,000 recovery for our client. But we navigated recoveries from the tortfeasor, big med pay, arbitration and litigation and underinsured recovery. Happy to get this good result for a great client.
Oh, and he had another lawyer before us. The other lawyer is a good and well known firm – so we agreed to co-counsel with then and shared the attorney fee.