There are hundreds of careers that require a worker to be physically capable of performing specific tasks. Construction workers must be able to lift wooden boards, paint, and solder pipes. Nurses are constantly on their feet, changing fluid lines, helping patients move around, and assisting in surgeries. For police officers, the need to move quickly to restrain a suspect or assist a victim by moving them is vital. Unfortunately for one officer, a careless driver caused an accident which would take away his ability to do his job.
A Blow From Behind
On the day of the accident, the police officer turned victim was driving in an SUV on the highway. He saw that there was a traffic jam ahead and slowed down to a complete stop, as had the cars ahead of him. While he was waiting for the vehicles to move forward, he was rear-ended by a man driving a cargo van.
The impact was so severe that, despite his correct use of a seatbelt, the officer was lifted into the air and his head was slammed into the roof of the SUV. He immediately noted severe pain in his head and neck and radioed for help.
EMT’s transported him to a nearby hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion and cervical strain. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only damage, but doctors didn’t discover the full extent until several months later after he had developed chronic headaches, numbness, tingling and continued neck and back pain. A CT scan performed by a specialist revealed that it wasn’t just a simple strain. Cervical disc radiculopathy and an indentation of the spinal cord ended up being the official diagnosis.
He underwent a discectomy and spinal fusion. His doctors believe that he will require an additional two surgeries in the future and despite their efforts and his commitment to physical therapy, the surgeon would not provide him with the medical clearance he needed to return to his job.
He decided to pursue a legal claim against both the driver of the truck and the company that owned the truck, alleging that the driver failed to keep a proper lookout, was driving distractedly, and that he failed to brake in time in order to avoid a collision. He also claimed that the company who hired the driver was at fault because he was acting as their agent at the time of the accident.
The plaintiff further claimed that since he had dedicated his entire adult life to working in law enforcement he did not have the skills needed to easily transition into another career, meaning that he would ultimately lose over $2 million in lost wages.
During a mediation, the two parties agreed to a settlement of $6.9 million which was the limit of the insurance policy held by the company that owned the truck.
Serious Car Accidents Are Frequent In New York
Over the past several years, statistics have shown that there are an average of 1,100 deaths, 140,000 visits to the emergency room, and around 12,000 hospitalizations due to car accidents and the injuries that they cause.
For serious injuries, such as broken bones, spinal damage, brain injury, or burns, patients can require hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in treatments. When you compare this to the minimum amount of insurance coverage required by law in New York, which is $25,000 in bodily injury, $10,000 in property damage, and $50,000 for personal injury protection, it’s easy to see how victims often end up bearing the burden of paying for their medical expenses.
This is also why car accident lawsuits are one of the most common forms of personal injury complaints. Victims have the right to attempt to recover financial coverage for their losses and in many cases, especially when they work with an experienced attorney who is dedicated to making sure they get what they need, the plaintiff is successful.
Is It Better To Take An Offer To Settle?
That is only something that can be determined after a careful review of the accident, the gathering of evidence, and negotiation with the defendant and insurance company. However, there are often benefits to settling as it saves both parties time and money and the majority of cases do settle out of court. When an offer is made, the plaintiff and their attorney will discuss the pros and cons of accepting and make an informed decision together.