As Dalia was patiently waiting in the designated turning lane to make a left turn into the shopping mall, she glanced into the rear view mirror just in time to see the car speeding towards her, ever growing larger in the mirror. Dalia had no time to take evasive action. Even if she had had time, there was nothing, really, that she could do. She couldn’t switch to the right lane without being hit by other fast moving cars not making a turn. Nor could she execute the left turn without causing a murderous head on or broad side collision with traffic coming from the other direction. Nothing for it but to sit there and brace for impact.
"Cars spun, glass shattered, air bags deployed, time slowed and finally the dust settled."
At last coming to attention, the other driver attempted to apply his breaks in the seconds before the inevitable impact - Too little, too late. Dalia’s car was hit hard in the rear and pushed into the lane of fast moving cars coming in the opposite direction. Fortunately the driver of the first car reacted quickly and swerved enough to make the collision with Dalia a glancing blow rather than a head on impact. Cars spun, glass shattered, air bags deployed, time slowed and finally the dust settled.
Paramedics removed Dalia from her car. She could not get out by herself. Two paramedics helped her to the ambulance where she was immediately nauseous from the shock. Pain was just beginning. Dalia was examined in the emergency room. She was stunned and had contusions and abrasions and a stressed left wrist, probably the result of attempting to brace herself by holding the steering wheel too tightly. Her neck was sore but x-rays showed nothing. Besides the contusions and abrasions that would heal themselves in a short time, the emergency room doctor diagnosed a sprained left wrist and cervical stain (whiplash). Dalia was discharged from the emergency room with a prescription for pain medication and instructions for treatment of the sprains and strains. “Just give it six to eight weeks”, the emergency room doctor told Dalia, “and you will be back to normal.”
The negligent driver’s insurance company swept in immediately. A friendly adjuster contacted Dalia and offered to pay her the full current value of her car which was a total loss. Dalia was also offered a moderate amount for her physical injuries which, after all, did not amount to much. The insurance adjuster told Dalia that the offer was generous since Dalia, fortunately, was not injured badly and would fully recover in a couple of months. “There is a check ready for you right now. Just sign this release of all claims and the money is yours.”
It was a month after the accident and Dalia really wanted to feel better and she thought that perhaps she did. The contusions were all but healed and the wrist was less painful and obviously getting better. Her neck didn’t hurt too much but she had pain and odd feelings in other parts of her body, pins and needles in her fingers and her foot seemed to hit the ground oddly when she walked. Dalia wanted to feel okay. She wasn’t the kind of person to complain or exaggerate about injuries or maladies. Maybe she should just sign the release and take the money that the insurance company offered and be done with it, she thought.
However, to be sure that she was doing the right thing and because Ed McGill doesn’t charge for a consultation for a personal injury case, Dalia called Ed to discuss the case with him.
“I certainly do hope that the emergency room doctor’s diagnosis is correct”, Ed told Dalia. “You are better off with a moderate claim for personal injury damages because that means that your injuries are not serious. But it is important to have the correct diagnosis – important for your medical care and important for your legal care. Sometimes the doctors can know more a bit after a traumatic event.”
"Sure enough, the MRI showed that the soft disc material in Dalia's cervical spine had been deformed as a result of the accident."
Dalia’s family physician referred her to an orthopedic specialist who, after considering the type of accident she was in and the medical signs and continuing and changing symptoms, referred her for an MRI scan of the cervical spine to determine if the injury to her neck was more than muscle strain caused by minor whiplash.
Sure enough, the MRI showed that the soft disc material in Dalia’s cervical spine had been deformed as a result of the accident. The disc material was putting pressure on the nerve roots and beginning to put pressure on the spinal cord itself. Dalia could try to alleviate her symptoms by conservative treatment, exercises and pain medication but it appeared that, sooner or later, she would need spinal surgery.
Dalia’s case was far more serious than muscle strain due to whiplash and she was wise to take care to get the correct diagnosis before signing a release and accepting inadequate compensation. Cases like Dalia’s handled by the McGill Law Office are not settled for less than the full amount of insurance that is available or for their full value. We want to know the complete extent of our client’s losses before we even approach an insurer to resolve a claim.
Dalia’s case is a fictionalized composite of cases that the McGill Law Office has handled involving auto accidents and spinal injuries. These cases sometimes are diagnosed as minor muscle injuries or sprains. We want to be sure and we always caution our clients not to jump at offers made by insurers and to wait until all injuries are fully diagnosed by the medical providers. The goal of the McGill Law Office is to obtain full compensation for our clients. Patience and persistence are the bywords to success in this and we apply both to our clients’ cases.
Content prepared by Edmond McGill. © Edmond McGill, 2015
This message and the information presented here do not create or evidence an attorney-client relationship nor are they intended to convey legal advice or counsel. You should not act upon this information without seeking advice from a qualified lawyer licensed in your own state or country who actually represents you. In this regard, you may contact The McGill Law Office and then representation and advice may be given if, and only if, attorney Edmond McGill agrees to do so in a written contract signed by him.