Upon being rear-ended at 40 MPH, our client’s head snapped back and then her whole body thrust forward, causing her left ankle to slam into the floorboard and her right upper arm to jam into her shoulder socket. Initially, she had complaints of neck and ankle pain. Within three months the neck pain went away, but her ankle and shoulder pain progressed. While the offending car suffered significant property damage, our client’s car had little to no visible property damage. The insurance company did not believe a jury would accept anyone could be significantly injured in a car with such little visible damage.
30 years earlier our client suffered a broken ankle that required surgery, the same ankle she injured in this crash. Additionally, 25 years earlier she broke her right shoulder and required surgery there too. The insurance company doctors attributed all of her complaints to the prior injuries and claimed nothing was caused in the hit in the rear.
Within three years of the crash, our client had undergone five shoulder surgeries. During treatment for her shoulder, her ankle pain got progressively worse, but she did not tell any of the orthopedic surgeons caring for her shoulder about her ankle troubles. Four years after the car crash, she presented to a new orthopedic surgeon, explained what happened in the crash and how her ankle got progressively worse. He diagnosed her with end stage post-traumatic arthritis and performed an ankle replacement. Following the ankle replacement, she developed Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome and required the placement of a DRG stimulator to help control the pain.
The insurance company lawyer argued to the jury that they were responsible only for her ankle sprain and the four-year gap in treatment made it impossible for the ankle replacement to be related. Additionally, the insurance company lawyer argued her shoulder injury could not be related because there was a delay of several months before the first complaint.
The case was tried by managing partner Andrew Finkelstein and trial partner Kenneth Fromson. In his summation, Andrew Finkelstein explained why all of the injuries were caused by the crash and suggested the appropriate verdict should be between $10,000,000 and $20,000,000. After a two week trial the five female and one male jury voted unanimously to award $13,500,000