Car Accident - Thoracic Outlet Syndrome $1,320,000.00 | Joel H. Schwartz, P.C.
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Car Accident Attorney Case

Rearend Collision – Thoracic Outlet Syndrome – $1,320,000.00 payout

Reported in the Lawyers Weekly
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

In February 2000, the 36 year old plaintiff had her vehicle stopped in traffic when she was struck from behind by another car. Total damages to her vehicle equaled $4,000 due to a smashed rear, and damage to the floor of the trunk.

On the other hand, the defendant claimed that the impact was not severe, and no damage was done to either vehicle.

The plaintiff was treated at Mount Auburn Hospital following the accident as she was complaining of left shoulder, arm, and neck pain. After leaving the hospital, the plaintiff continued to be seen by her primary care physician. It was initially thought that the plaintiff was suffering from pain to the back and soft tissue of the neck. She commenced with chiropractic care.

Due to symptoms that would not cease or respond to therapy, including dizziness and arm numbness, the plaintiff was looked at further and was thought to been suffering from chronic C6-7 radiculopathy. Following this diagnosis conservative treatment was given to the plaintiff until further testing revealed another condition known as chronic upper trunk brachial plexopathy.

At this time, the plaintiff was referred to a specialist in the field, Dr. Robert Therur. He performed a rib resection, and came to diagnose the plaintiff with thoracic outlet syndrome. In addition, post operative problems were discovered including decreased motor power in the upper left arm. These problems were due to either ongoing brachial plexopathy and/or post operative edema.

After more nerve studies, it appeared that there were no changes in comparison to pre-operative checkups. While the plaintiff continued treatment, she was referred to Dr. Joseph Upton. Dr. Upton came to several conclusions. He diagnosed the plaintiff with status post contusion and brachial plexis. In addition, he also diagnosed local hematoma and a post pursed rib resection accompanied by swelling. At this point, Dr. Upton recommended conservative treatment, with hopes that full nerve function would return over time.

In October of 2004, the plaintiff made a return visit to Dr. Upton’s office. At this time it was noted that her conditioned had not improved, and her left hand and upper extremity were non-functional.

The plaintiff was a performance violinist, and this injury greatly reduced her ability to perform. The prospects of her ever being able to play the violin again are not good.

On behalf of a third party and insurer request, the plaintiff underwent an independent check up and exam performed by Dr. Craig Stirrat. His findings showed that thoracic outlet syndrome and the following surgery were directly related to the car accident which had occurred months earlier. At the same time, Dr. Stirrat also questioned why the plaintiff’s arm and hand were incapacitated. He noted that the nerve studies did not show anything along these lines. He also noted that psychological effects may be affecting the plaintiff’s arm control.

At this point, the defendant requested that the plaintiff undergo yet another independent medical examination due to Dr. Stirrat’s findings. Lawyers for the plaintiff objected to a second examination due to the fact that the trial date was quickly approaching.

At the end of the initial settlement discussions, the third party insurer offered the plaintiff $180,000. After the plaintiff’s counsel provided additional medical information, the insurer greatly increased their offer to a present value of $485,000 in May 2005. This number included $240,000 up front. Additionally, the plaintiff will receive an annuity that guarantees five yearly payments of amounts of $35,000 and $45,000 for an overall payout of $375,000. On top of this, the plaintiff will receive monthly payments of $2,490 for the rest of her life with 15 years being guaranteed.

In total, if the plaintiff lives to a normal life expectancy, she will receive monthly payments totaling $705,000. This brings the total to $1,320,000 which includes the $240,000 up front cash.

The counsel for the plaintiff believes that an unwillingness to undergo a second examination swayed the case in their favor. To go along with this, it is believed that a favorable IME by Dr. Stirrat prompted the defendant to settle for just below the insurance policy limit.

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