Within days of an Arbitration Hearing, a Bucks County uninsured motorist case resolved for $550,000 – 3 years after the wreck.
Our 62-year old client, a well-respected commercial and residential painter, was driving a small truck when a vehicle stopped to turn left and was rear ended by an unlicensed and uninsured driver and pushed head on into our client’s vehicle. Our client who did not lose consciousness but did have a lack of memory regarding some of the events after the impact, was diagnosed with a concussion and a right shoulder injury. His right shoulder injury was shown by MRI as a partially torn rotator cuff and surgery was performed in January in 2016.
Our client was able to work in a reduced capacity up to the time of the surgery and was able to return to full duty work in July 2016. However, by November 2016, the right shoulder pain returned and his ability to perform overhead work was greatly affected. Another MRI confirmed that the rotator cuff had partially re-torn and surgery was recommended as the only treatment. However, another surgery would mean our client would need to miss 9 months to 1 year of work. Unable to pay his bills should he be totally unable to perform work, our client chose to delay surgery until after his claim resolved.
Our client’s work was also affected by occasional symptoms of vertigo, migraines and visual aura which experts ascribed to the effects of post-concussion syndrome. Those symptoms, being occasional and unpredictable, made him concerned about climbing ladders and doing high painting work.
Baratta, Russell & Barattas’ (BRB) orthopedic surgery expert opined, along with BRB’s Life Care Planner that future medical costs for shoulder surgery and rehabilitation would be $64,000. BRB’s Vocational and Economic Expert evaluated the pre-injury income to be $65,000 per year and his post injury income at $40,000 per year. Of course, in a worst-case scenario our client may have been unable to return to work at all after his needed shoulder surgery. So, it was an unknown, going into Arbitration, exactly what effect the injuries would have on our client’s long-term economic prospects.
Moss Rehabilitation provided treatment to our client for his ongoing post-concussion symptoms and diagnosed him with a traumatic brain injury. A neuropsychologist, reviewed a battery of tests conducted upon our client and opined that the testing proved our client suffered deficits in verbal memory which is controlled by an area of the brain (left temporal lobe) which would have been impacted given the mechanism of injury. An ophthalmologist determined that our client’s complaints of a visual aura were affects of the migraines from the brain injury, ruling out an ophthalmic injury as the source.
The defense position regarding the shoulder injury was that the tear was a small partial tear caused by the accident. The defense orthopedic expert was of the opinion that the surgery was reasonable but that our client could have returned to normal activities even without surgery, because the tear was small. The defense also would have called an expert neuropsychologist who would have offered the opinion that our client’s symptoms were psychologically based, not caused by a brain injury and that the concussion our client had suffered was causing no further problems.
This case settled 5 days before the Arbitration Hearing.
Result: The case settled for $550,000
Attorney: Anthony J. Baratta – Baratta, Russell & Baratta