The victim in this Florida automobile accident suffered serious and permanent injuries as he was stopped for a traffic signal on Alternate A1A in Palm Beach Gardens. Suddenly, and without warning, a bus being operated by a careless and inattentive driver plowed into the rear of his vehicle. Fortunately, the victim was wearing his seat belt when the accident occurred.
Immediately upon impact, the victim experienced the onset of pain in his neck. Since he could literally see the hospital entrance from the accident scene, he drove himself to the emergency room at Palm Beach Gardens Hospital, where he presented with symptoms including pain to the head, headaches, paresthesias around the mouth, arms and neck, along with neck pain. After undergoing a complete physical examination and diagnostic work up (including a CT scan of the head and spine) the emergency room physician diagnosed neck pain with probable cord compression and released the victim with prescriptions for pain medication, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories and instructions to immediately follow up with a physician.
Subsequently, the victim was seen by a neurosurgeon for continued pain in his lower back and neck. Unfortunately, he continued to experience numbness to the left side of his mouth and left hand. In addition, the CT scan revealed a disc herniation at the C4-C5 level. Based on his physical examination and clinical findings, the neurosurgeon immediately ordered MRI’s of the cervical and lumbar spine.
The MRI of the lumbar spine revealed a disc bulge at the L4-5 level as well as an L5-S1 central disc protrusion. More importantly, the cervical MRI revealed the left paramedian annular tear at C6-7, central disc herniations at C2-3, C3-4 and C4-6, and broad based disc herniation with cord impingement and central canal stenosis at C4-5. Needless to say, the victim (who has never experienced any significant neck pain or required medical treatment on his cervical spine in the past) was absolutely devastated by the MRI findings. The neurosurgeon confirmed a diagnosis of mechanical low back and neck pain with cervical radiculopathy and noted a significant increase in the progression of the victim’s neck pain, headaches, and numbness into his right arm and leg. Furthermore, he noted that the victim was in a severe state of inflammation and spasm and recommended continued and aggressive physical therapy and medications.
Approximately one month later, the victim received unfortunate news from his neurosurgeon that would permanently impact him and his family. He confirmed that due to the mechanical neck pain with cervical disc radiculopathy as well as the herniated nucleus pulposus at C4-5 and C5-6, the only form of relief would come though a major open, lengthy and complicated surgery on the cervical spine to correct the defects.
Subsequently, the victim scheduled an appointment with another neurosurgeon for a second opinion and unfortunately, this neurosurgeon confirmed what the victim’s first neurosurgeon had stated, and explained the risks of the procedure, which included death, infection, bleeding, paralysis, transfusion, re-operation and/or chronic pain. Most importantly, he confirmed that there was no guarantee as to the outcome of the surgery.
After consulting with his wife and experiencing horrific, unbearable pain and burning sensations along with worsening numbness and tingling into his arms and fingers, the victim agreed to the surgery and was admitted to Columbia Hospital. Fortunately, he tolerated the procedure well and was eventually released to return home for rest and recovery.
The victim’s post-surgical recovery was problematic and painful as he had an extremely swollen neck, as well as severe difficulty with swallowing. In fact, he still gags on certain types of food. He has also had to undergo an extensive post-surgical physical therapy program. His medical bills to date amount to more than $147,000.00 and his future medical expenses are estimated to be at least $250,000.00 over his lifetime.
This victim continues to experience headaches and the range of motion in his neck remains severely limited. He still experiences intermediate burning sensations in his neck depending on how he moves his head. In addition, he has experienced significant weight gain due to his complete inactivity since the accident. Prior to the accident, he was extremely physically fit and active. He worked out regularly at his gym two to three days a week and golfed with his father at least once per week. He has also been unable to participate in his favorite sport, ice hockey, which has been his passion since childhood.
The victim in this case is a husband and the father of three young girls and his inability to perform his normal functions have had a devastating and horrific impact on the quality of his family’s lifestyle. In the past, he was extremely handy around the home, performed all maintenance duties, helped his wife with the household chores, yard work, landscaping, and helped raise their children. Unfortunately he has been unable to perform any of these duties and has had to hire companies to perform the maintenance in his home that he did on a regular basis.
This young family contacted Attorney Jason D. Weisser to assist them in this case against the driver and the owner of the bus company involved. After thorough investigation and extensive negotiation, Mr. Weisser was successful in obtaining a very substantial settlement for this family whose lives had been changed so dramatically.