Accident Overview:

$515,000 for Severe Back Injuries sustained from two rear-end collisions seven months apart.

Severe Back Injury Settlement 1

About the Case

Our client was commuting with her husband from the hospital, where they worked as RNs, to their home. Traveling northbound on Highway 101 near the Vermont street off-ramp in San Francisco in the couple’s Toyota Matrix, they slowed for traffic and were struck from the rear by the adverse driver’s Mercedes sedan. The low-impact collision caused only minor property damage to both vehicles and none of the parties needed immediate emergency treatment.

The accident was investigated by the San Francisco Police Department which cited the driver of the Mercedes as the cause of the collision. Several months later our client was involved in a second rear-end collision. Again, she was a passenger in the Toyota Matrix commuting home from work when the accident occurred in the city of Benicia. No police investigation was done – the impact was at low speed, damage to the vehicles was minor and none of the parties needed immediate medical attention. The parties exchanged insurance information and drove away.

Case Facts

Within a few hours of the first accident, our client began experiencing headaches and soreness in her neck. Over the next few days, the symptoms became steadily worse, with pain radiating down her left arm into her hand. An MRI took a month after the accident revealed a disc protrusion at C4-5 and a large broad protrusion with severe central stenosis and compression at C5-6. Dr. Stephen Ryu, a neurosurgeon at Stanford Medical Center, performed a cervical discectomy at C5-6 and installed a plate post-fusion.

The operation provided short-term relief, as the neck pain and radiating numbness soon returned. Another MRI a few months after the procedure showed that the protrusion was progressing, impacting the spinal cord and the central canal. Our client had returned to work but the pain increased to a level that made it difficult to perform her nursing duties.

Various medications were prescribed to address the increased level of pain after another MRI showed the protrusion at C4-5 had progressed and was impacting the spinal cord and central canal. The second car accident resulted in some additional left arm pain, but the primary disabling condition was the continuous severe neck pain and left arm numbness. Eventually, a cervical discectomy and fusion were performed at C4-5, and instrumentation was emplaced.

    When the injured couple retained GJEL ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS they had two questions:

  1. Could the responsibility of each of the adverse drivers be established? 
  2. Could the medical treatments and expenses caused by each impact be separately identified?

Because the two accidents were relatively close in time, the insurer for the driver in the earlier collision argued that much of the medical expense and wage loss was attributable to injuries caused by the later accident, covered by another insurance company.

GJEL partner Jim Larsen developed the medical testimony and documentation to establish that the first accident was the cause of most of our client’s damages. He obtained the opinions of several medical professionals. After their reviews of the medical records, it supported GJEL’s position. Attorney Larsen also successfully negotiated substantial reductions in the medical liens, enabling our client to receive the maximum benefit from the payments of the two insurance companies.

Insurance Company Names:     USAA
Farmers Insurance Co
Police Report   San Francisco Police Dept -accident #1: no report accident #2
Vehicle Types   Toyota Matrix
Honda Ridgeline
Mercedes Benz
Accident Locations: #1-E. 2nd St. and Rankin Way, Benicia, CA
#2-Hwy 101 at Vermont St., San Francisco
Hospitals and Medical Centers Visited   Stanford Hospital
Palo Alto Medical Foundation
Types of Injuries (Specific as possible)   C4-5 disc protrusion, severe central protrusion,
compression C5-6

How much will my back injury settlement be?

This is a difficult question to answer without knowing all of the details surrounding your back injury and the circumstances under which it occurred. Generally speaking, however, the amount of your settlement will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of your injury, the extent of your medical bills and other damages, and the amount of insurance coverage available. If you have suffered a serious back injury that has resulted in significant medical bills and other damages, you may be entitled to a substantial settlement.

How much will my back injury settlement be?

This is a difficult question to answer without knowing all of the details surrounding your back injury and the circumstances under which it occurred. Generally speaking, however, the amount of your settlement will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of your injury, the extent of your medical bills and other damages, and the amount of insurance coverage available. If you have suffered a serious back injury that has resulted in significant medical bills and other damages, you may be entitled to a substantial settlement.

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Andy Gillin

Andy Gillin received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his law degree from the University of Chicago. He is the managing partner of GJEL Accident Attorneys and has written and lectured in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury law for numerous organizations. Andy is a highly recognized wrongful death lawyer in California.