Jury decisions can sometimes be very favorable to plaintiffs, even better than the settlement amount he/she may have been willing to accept in an out-of-court settlement. This is what happened to a woman who was involved in a head-on car crash and sustained multiple injuries. She fractured her wrist severely and sustained several herniated discs in the accident. A Litchfield County jury awarded her $1.4 million. The evidence for car accident cases is largely drawn from the injured person’s medical records. Car accident lawyers utilize medical record review services to obtain a case chronology and summary that will give them a clear idea regarding the various facts of the case. They help the injured party fight for the settlement they deserve or an award of damages by a jury or judge. These damages may include compensation for any losses or injury the plaintiff suffered and lost wages. Typically, lawyers request all the client’s medical records (even those from far back as ten years) so that a chronology of their medical history both before and after the accident can be done. It is this that helps them to immediately identify the weak spots in their causation case.
In the above mentioned case, a car driven by a Georgia man crossed the central line of the roadway and crashed head-on into the 52-year-old Torrington woman’s vehicle. To shield her face from the impact, the woman threw up her left arm when her wrist smashed into the windshield and was badly broken. At the hospital, she was also diagnosed with injuries to her cervical spine, right shoulder, lumbar spine, left hip and left shoulder. She sprained her right ankle and bruised her right knee. According to the woman’s lawyer, she did not have to undergo any surgeries, and didn’t have to be admitted in the hospital on an inpatient basis. However, an MRI of her cervical spine area revealed herniation of three discs for which she attended nine physical therapy appointments and 28 occupational therapy appointments. Imaging studies are important when analyzing an auto injury case. Medical record review for attorneys includes detailed analysis of various imaging reports such as X-ray and MRI to determine the nature and extent of injuries sustained.
The orthopedic surgeon who treated the injured woman assigned permanent partial disability ratings for the various injuries she sustained – 2 percent each for the right shoulder, left hip and upper left extremity including the left wrist; and 5 percent for the lower back, and 10 percent disability for the neck injury. The lawsuit filed asked for compensation for her medical bill costs that amounted to $19,610, but it did not include a claim for lost wages or future medical costs. The defense admitted liability for the crash, but contested the extent of damages. The plaintiff would have accepted a $75,000 settlement this past summer but took back that offer on October 1. By the time the man’s insurance company indicated their willingness to settle for $75, 000, the plaintiff decided to take her chances with the jury which proved favorable for her. Of the $1.4 million awarded by the jury, $20,000 was for economic damages and the remaining $1.38 million was for non-economic damages.
The result of the lawsuit and the monetary value of the settlement a plaintiff receives is determined by a jury who will look into factors including the following:
- The overall strength of the plaintiff’s liability case
- Their discernment of the plaintiff’s as well as the defendant’s credibility
- The severity of the accident
- The severity of the plaintiff’s injuries
- Whether the accident was avoidable by either plaintiff or defendant and who was really responsible for it
- The condition of the vehicle before and after the accident
- Arguments that could be used by attorneys on both sides
- Witness testimony and the credibility of witnesses
- Pain, suffering and loss endured by the plaintiff as a result of the accident
In a vehicle injury case such as the above, plaintiffs can surely benefit from the support of an attorney. Once the attorney/lawyer has a clear understanding of the case, he/she will help plaintiffs file an insurance claim with the other driver’s insurer and speak to the insurance company on the plaintiff’s behalf. Before filing an insurance claim or negotiating with the insurer, the attorney will gather evidence regarding the accident. The most important evidence in this regard is the medical chart, to review which a medical record company would prove indispensable.