In September 2018, at an early mediation with the relevant parties in litigation, Elliot J. Sokoloff, Esq. and co-counsel, Brian LaBovick, Esq., were able to settle an automobile accident case/personal injury claim arising from a 2017 crash where a tractor trailer precipitated a multiple vehicle crash including our client’s vehicle with such force as to as to cause significant property damage to multiple vehicles and corresponding resultant bodily injury to our client as well as other victims.
Early on, we identified that there was a finite amount of available liability coverage given a single limit commercial liability policy that the trucking company had with multiple parties/claimants involved with competing claims/cases arising out of this multiple vehicle crash.
The Florida Traffic Crash Report reflected liability solely on the driver of the tractor trailer.
Our client, a 41 year-old-male maintenance contractor, had sought emergent medical treatment at the scene and was later transported to a local ER of a local hospital.
He later treated with an orthopedic surgeon and received conservative therapy. His radiological results were positive. An MRI performed on the lumbar spine revealed a diffuse disc herniation while the cervical study revealed 2 distinct herniations with compression on the the cal sac with annular tears.
As a result, our client underwent an epidural steroid injection and when same failed to have any lasting effects, later, underwent a radio frequency ablation procedure (rhizotomy) on his back by his attending orthopedic surgeon. A rhizotomy is a surgical procedure to sever nerve roots in the spinal cord. The procedure effectively relieves chronic back pain and muscle spasms. For spinal joint pain, a facet rhizotomy may provide lasting low back pain relief by disabling the sensory nerve at the facet joint.
After preparing several lengthy reserves packages with attachments addressed to the trucker’s insurance company, we had suggested that if negotiating our claim was administratively difficult for the insurer, perhaps an early pre-suit mediation may help resolve the claims. Unfortunately, our office was later put on notice that while settlement would be preferable by both the claims supervisor, our client and our office, one of the other parties had then filed suit precluding any meaningful settlement discussions given the single limit commercial policy. Hence, this matter was forced into litigation to give our client equal footing with the other competing claims.
Settlement was reached after 4 hours of mediation with 3 competing claimants attending with counsel and the entire million dollar policy being disbursed. Note that nearly $150,000.00 of that policy was used to pay various property damage claims prior to mediation leaving approximately $850,000.00 to be divided among the remaining claimants.