A young woman was traveling eastbound on U.S. 460 in Grundy, Virginia (VA) early in the morning in October 2014. A car driver operating in the opposite direction also on U.S. 460 crossed the center line and struck our client's car, as well as another vehicle, totaling our client's car. The at-fault driver was charged with reckless driving.
Our client was taken by ambulance to the Buchanan General Hospital with neck, back, left shoulder and left elbow pain, as well as complaints of headache. CT scans were ordered and there were no fractures but she was provided a cervical collar, arm sling and pain medication.
Within a couple of days, our client was required to go to Pikeville Medical Center for further emergency treatment because she had all of the original problems but also had pain at her right tibia and fibula of her leg. She was provided various medications and told to follow‑up with her physicians. Her general practice doctor provided her medications for her right foot pain and the swelling. She was referred to an orthopedic surgeon.
The orthopedic doctor treated her for right ankle and foot pain and pain radiating into her leg including some color changes and coolness of the skin that she she noticed and bothered her. He diagnosed her with right ankle sprain but also with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). She ended up being seen by multiple doctors not only in the area surrounding Grundy, Virginia but she later relocated to South Carolina and was treated there by several physicians who could not fully resolve her lower leg pain.
Our client served as a customer service representative and her job duties required her to sit for long periods of time. She was unable to elevate her leg to relieve her pain symptoms.
Key Legal Strategy
We researched all the available auto insurance coverage and found that our client was able to obtain $25,000.00 of underinsured motorist coverage, in addition to the other driver's $25,000.00 of liability coverage. We explained to the auto insurance claims adjuster for the insurance companies how CRPS has no surgical cure and causes on-going intermittent pain for the remainder of a person’s lifetime. By the time of settlement, our client was not incurring any further medical expense but complained she had intermittent pain in her lower right leg. Though, it was unclear whether her current treating physician would verify that she suffered all of the symptoms of CRPS. We were able to convince the insurance companies to pay $40,000.00 to settle her claim prior to suit being filed.
Richard N. Shapiro
Location & Date
Grundy, Virginia; 2015