Erie Car Accident Case: Lost Wages Drive Settlement
Our client was injured in an Erie car accident. The other driver went through a red light at nearly 40 mph and hit the front-quarter panel of our client’s truck. Both vehicles were disabled and required towing from the scene. Fortunately, our client did not suffer any broken bones. He declined medical treatment at the scene and instead went to a nearby family member’s home and got a ride.
The next morning, however, he woke up with considerable pain in his neck and back. He went to an Erie emergency room, where he was X-rayed. They confirmed that nothing was broken and told him to follow up with his family doctor. Our client did as he was told and his family doctor started him on an aggressive physical therapy program.
Our injured client followed his physical therapy program perfectly and both his neck and back steadily improved. However, while the neck pain was virtually cured, the back became a lingering problem. As our client admitted, after completing his physical therapy, the back pain wasn’t so terrible most of the time. It really only bothered him on occasion, such as when he overexerted himself.
The trouble, however, was that our client was a self-employed concrete finisher. His work required him to regularly lift 80-pound buckets of cement; to mix by hand a cement/acrylic compound; and to work on his hands and knees all day.
The insurance company sent him to a specialist who they chose for a “functional capacity evaluation.” The insurance company plainly hoped that the specialist would say that he could return to work, no problem. Instead, the specialist confirmed what was already apparent from the medical records: our client could work but not as a cement finisher. He’d have to learn a new trade.
Still, the insurance company tried to avoid paying him for his losses. They claimed that he was subject to the limited tort option. He wasn’t, under the circumstances of the case. But they told him that he was and they used it as an excuse not to pay him.
Our client tried to resolve his case with the insurance company without a lawyer. But they wouldn’t offer him anything. Out of frustration, he came to Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C.
The case has now partly resolved. The insurance company paid $75,000 to settle the claim against the negligent driver. Now, we’re going against the same insurance company for underinsured motorist benefits. Stay tuned…