Our client, who was a supervisor for a commercial roofing company, was struck from behind by a van operated by an employee of a HVAC service company while driving his employer’s king cab pick-up.
Despite photographs that revealed very little damage to either vehicle, all passengers in our client’s truck reported a significant impact. Although our client did not seek medical treatment for several days after the accident, MRI and x-rays revealed an instable bilateral pars fracture in his lumbar spine. Our client had undergone a prior fusion surgery 25 years earlier but fully recovered with no additional problems. Our client’s orthopedic surgeon performed a new fusion surgery at the site of the pars fracture and a decompression at the prior surgery site. After experiencing improvement of 70%-80%, our client was referred to his primary care physician for pain management which consisted of therapy and medications and lead to a diagnosis of chronic pain. Vocational and functional testing determined that our client could never return to roofing work and limited him to light physical demand level work. He was also assigned 13% impairment to his left leg and 12% “whole person” permanent impairment. The evidence we obtained revealed that our client would require ongoing medical care and never be able to earn as much as he did before the accident. The negligent driver’s insurance company attacked all aspects of our client’s case. We assembled a team of experts including an orthopedic surgeon, primary care physician, life care planner, vocational counselor, disability examiner, physical therapist and an economist to testify for our client. A settlement mediation was unsuccessful after the insurance company attempted to “low ball” the value of the case. On the night before his trial was to begin in the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond, our client’s personal injury case settled for $1,550,000.00. His workers’ compensation case then settled for another $65,000.00, for a total value of $1,615,000.00.