Rear End San Diego Car Accident Resulting in SI Joint Fracture and Denervation Procedure to Avoid Fusion Surgery
$300,000 (Policy Limits)
The Jurewitz Law Group represented a woman in her late 40s who was hit from behind on Sweetwater Road near Jamacha Road in an unincorporated part of San Diego County. She had slowed to make a left hand turn into a grocery store and was rear-ended by a woman who was either not paying attention or, per her statement to the police, was reaching for her cell phone just before the accident.
Our client almost immediately complained of pain to her back, neck, and right hip. She was diagnosed with a sprain and strain of her back and neck and with her pain to her right sacroiliac (SI) joint which is located in the pelvis approximately halfway from the spine to the hip. Her doctors treated her conservatively for over a year to alleviate her SI joint pain, but it never went away. Her doctors' thorough examination and documentation demonstrated that additional future treatment would be necessary either through surgery or some form of pain management.
Prior to surgery, the Jurewitz Law Group obtained an estimate for the surgical cost from the neurologist and a local San Diego hospital who was willing to provide the surgical facility to the client without immediate payment (they would be paid after the case was over). With the surgical estimate in hand, our car accident attorneys demanded the at-fault driver's insurance policy limit of $300,000. Unfortunately, her insurance company, GEICO, declined to pay the policy limit demand and our law office filed a lawsuit.
Through the lawsuit, the Jurewitz Law Group was able to establish liability and that the accident caused our client's injury. The open question and issue was what future care was necessary and how that would impact our client's life. Although almost all personal injury clients want to settle their cases as soon as possible, in this case it was better for the client that her case and her medical care took longer than average.
In order for our lawyers to prove that surgery was necessary and all exhaustive care had been exhausted, we referred our client to a local pain management doctor for evaluation and to perform a denervation procedure where the sensory nerve (the nerve that sends the pain signal to the brain) is severed by radiofrequency in an out-patient procedure. Thankfully, the denervation procedure was successful and our client was able to avoid a very painful and risky SI joint fusion surgery. Unfortunately, denervation is not a permanent solution and must be repeated every two to ten years depending on the patient and circumstances. Given our client's age, she would have had to repeat the denervation procedure an additional eight times during her lifetime (on an average of once every five years).
By this time, the case was close to trial (which had already been continued once for further medical evaluations). Our attorneys once again demanded the $300,000 policy limit from GEICO. Otherwise, if GEICO rejected our demand, we would have proceeded to trial and sought full value from a jury. Our own evaluation of the damages was conservatively $1,000,000. This time, GEICO realized that going to trial would cost them more and offered to pay their $300,000 policy limit to our client.
Awarded: $300,000 (policy limits)
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