Pedestrian Accident Case Study
Client and her nephew were walking across the street in a crosswalk on the green walk sign. It was dark and raining very hard. Client was wearing dark clothing. Defendant hit Client and nephew with his vehicle. Client was pushed to the side of the vehicle, and nephew was pushed up on top of the vehicle and then fell to the ground.
Client could not recall the details of what happened at the accident, and was unclear as to whether she actually fell to the ground. She initially had complaints of low back pain, for which she sought treatment. Almost a year after the accident, her medical records began to document symptoms consistent with thoracic outlet syndrome. She was told to have scalene blocks in order to determine her treatment options as well as her diagnosis. This was in early 2007. Client chose not to have procedure done at that time.
Defendant is insured by Allstate and was defended by Allstate in-house counsel. In January 2009, our office sent Allstate counsel Requests for Admissions asking Allstate to admit that Client’s medical treatment and expenses she had received through early 2007 was reasonable in amount and necessary for the treatment and diagnosis of Client’s accident-related injuries. Allstate counsel did not timely serve responses. After the responses were overdue, Allstate asked us for a continuance, which we declined. Allstate counsel did nothing to seek relief from the Court to file untimely responses.
Trial was scheduled to commence on June 1, 2009. The discovery cut-off was April 13, 2009. In an effort to attempt to resolve the claim, we participated in mediation on April 1, 2009. The day before mediation, our office received a records review from a medical expert who had been identified the day before. The medical expert challenged the bulk of Client’s medical treatment and disputed the diagnosis of thoracic outlet syndrome or the causal connection to the subject accident given the late onset of symptoms and limited diagnostic work-up.
The late disclosure of this information negatively impacted the mediation. Allstate had already paid $10,000 in PIP benefits and was only willing to offer approximately $14,000 in new money at mediation. The mediation was unsuccessful and we prepared for trial.
We also filed a Motion with the Court asking that the Requests for Admissions be deemed admitted, that we be granted Summary Judgment on the matters deemed admitted, and that their late disclosed expert be precluded from testifying at trial. After the Motion was filed, Allstate counsel served responses to the Requests for Admissions. We argued to the Court that Allstate’s tactics and blatant violations of the case schedule should not permitted and the only just relief was the relief we requested. We further argued that our client was going to be prejudiced by having to respond to matters that were deemed admitted when Allstate missed the deadline and did nothing to cure until after the discovery cut-off. The Court agreed with our position and granted all relief requested.
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The Court’s ordering granting summary judgment on the medical specials and striking Allstate’s expert was received less than two weeks before trial. A week after the Order was issued and one week before trial, Allstate agreed to settle the case for $50,000 in new money for a total settlement of $60,000.
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