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Driver Pays For Accident Caused By Reaching For Cell Phone

I’ve preached on this website before about the dangers of distracted driving, including putting the phone down to keep others safe. Christina’s story shows why.

Christina is a true soldier for her husband, a hard working fella who’s got a painful chronic medical condition. One spring day, she rode with him to a doctor appointment. As they sat stopped for a red light, they got slammed from behind. At the scene, the at-fault driver admitted causing the crash by reaching in his back pocket for his phone. We built the case around him putting a phone call over Christina’s safety.

A rear end crash isn’t always a slam dunk. We had obstacles to overcome. Christina came to me from another lawyer, who apparently felt he couldn’t help her. This is what we overcame:

  • Low impact / little damage to Christina’s truck. Pictures of the truck showed little damage. The police report didn’t show the at-fault driver driving very fast. Christina maintained the other guy’s car looked a lot worse. I turned this around on the insurance company, asking for pictures of the at-fault driver’s car. I never got them. But they did eventually pay the maximum amount of their policy.
  • Prior medical condition. Insurance companies love to claim injuries aren’t related to the wreck because you got hurt there before. Why? Because it can work. Christina’s primary accident injury was a left shoulder problem and she did have treatment there before. We confronted this head-on by sending years of prior medical and chiropractic records. They showed she had just a few visits for both shoulders, ending over a year before the crash, plus the treatment related to her scoliosis.

I pointed out the crash hurt only her left shoulder when the impact flung her against the seatbelt, then slammed her back into her seat.

Christina and her doctor warriored on. Christina suffered tremendously as a result of the crash. Her left shoulder and arm were left useless for months. She lost her job as a warehouse pharmacy tech because she couldn’t reach items on shelves or lift and carry boxes. But she hung in there – and her surgeon did, too. He scoped and repaired her damaged left shoulder. When she still didn’t get enough motion back, he operated again to loosen it more.

Outcome. We settled with the at-fault driver’s policy for its limits of $50,000.00. But that wasn’t it.

Christina and her husband were also wise to protect themselves with the most important insurance coverage of all, underinsurance. We got the limits of both of those policies for another $50,000.00. So her total settlement was $100,000.00.

Christina now owns her own business and looks forward to running it as she continues to recover. And now she has much-deserved settlement money to help her and her husband out. As always, I’m thankful to be part of her solution and glad I got to help nice folks like her and her husband.

$100,00 (maximum available insurance )

Rob Usry
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Rob is a South Carolina personal injury and criminal defense lawyer.

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