Mr. L was stopped in traffic on I-75/85 in downtown Atlanta when the driver of a car behind him crashed into him. He suffered a herniated disc in his lower back at L5-S1 in the wreck and required two discectomy surgeries. When the insurance company for the other driver denied causing Mr. L’s injuries, we took the case to court and won a $250,000 verdict for him.
Mr. L was in Atlanta for business and had just left to drive home to Charlotte. He was driving on The Connector and stopped his car due to traffic ahead of him when he was rear-ended by another driver. The force of the wreck caused Mr. L’s car to strike a third car ahead of him and that third car to strike a fourth car ahead of it.
INJURIES & SURGERIES
Mr. L initially didn’t think he was hurt so he got a rental car and drove home to Charlotte. On the drive home, his back started tightening up and when he woke up the next morning it felt even worse, so he went to his primary care doctor. He saw his primary care doctor several times over the next several weeks. When he continued having back pain, his primary care doctor referred him to an orthopedist.
Approximately five weeks after the wreck, Mr. L’s back pain began going down into his buttock and leg and he also began having numbness in his foot. Since those are signs of a herniated disc, the orthopedist ordered an MRI, which showed a large herniated disc in Mr. L’s lower back at L5-S1. The orthopedist recommended surgery due to the size of the herniated disc. Mr. L had a discectomy surgery, which is where the doctor cuts open your back to reveal the spinal cord and cuts out the herniated disc.
Over the next several years Mr. L continued to have back pain. He tried physical therapy, chiropractic treatment and then epidurals and while they would all help for a little bit, his back pain always came back. His orthopedist ultimately ordered another MRI, which showed that the same disc in his back had herniated again. The orthopedist recommended that Mr. L have another discectomy surgery to remove the herniated disc and Mr. L decided to have the surgery.
Thankfully, our client has been doing much better since the second surgery. While he still has symptoms, they are much less than they used to be.
LAWSUIT & TRIAL
The insurance company initially denied Mr. L’s claim, so we filed suit. While the defense admitted responsibility for the wreck, they argued that since Mr. L didn’t begin having the signs of a herniated disc – pain radiating from his back into his buttock and leg – until several weeks after the wreck, that the herniated disc must have been caused by something other than the car wreck.
When the insurance company refused to admit the wreck injured Mr. L and also refused to make a fair settlement offer, we took the case to trial.
To prove the wreck caused the herniated disc, BBGA attorney Michael Ruppersburg showed the jury that Mr. L went to the doctor the day after the wreck with back pain and had back pain every doctor visit for two months after the wreck. Mr. L’s orthopedic surgeon also testified that car wrecks can cause herniated discs, that people with herniated discs can have a delay in pain radiating into their buttock and leg and that it was his opinion the wreck caused the herniated disc.
The trial took two days and after several hours of deliberation the jury returned a $250,000 verdict in favor of Mr. L.