A man will receive an $800,000 settlement after another driver turned left in front of his motorcycle in downtown Charlotte, causing a crash.
Elizabeth Grimes of Charlotte, who represented the plaintiff, reported that the previously healthy 32-year-old father of two suffered major injuries when an elderly motorist pulled into his path during heavy congestion. Because he was unable to avoid the collision, the plaintiff hit the side of the car, falling on his right knee, crushing it.
The plaintiff’s injuries included tears to his posterior cruciate ligament, the lateral corner ligament, the medial meniscal and abrasive plica. He also suffered road rash and other abrasions.
Since the crash, the plaintiff has required three surgeries. When the initial surgery proved unsuccessful, the plaintiff underwent a second and third surgery to reconstruct the damaged ligaments, remove hardware previously inserted by surgeons and to “fill bone tunnels with bone graft.”
As a result of his injuries, Grimes argued that her client was forced to undergo major lifestyle changes.
While he was released after his third surgery with no work restrictions, he was told to avoid any activity that requires twisting, cutting or jumping, as these actions could aggravate or re-injure the knee. Grimes said this was especially difficult for her client since he previously enjoyed an active lifestyle which included playing recreational soccer and enjoying the outdoors alone and with his family.
“He used to hike, go waterskiing, run 5Ks and 10Ks and he played in three different soccer leagues,” Grimes said. “It’s been difficult coping with being a spectator instead of a participant, especially with the kids.”
The plaintiff made claims to pay for his past and future medical bills, including any future arthroscopy or replacement knee surgeries caused by arthritis in the injured knee.
The plaintiff also made a claim for past lost wages and for diminution in earning power, saying he lost his job because his recovery time lasted more than three months.
“He did experience loss of promotion opportunities,” Grimes said. “They argued [he] could still work [his] way back up the chain, and he’s in a sales rep position, [which requires him to be] on [his] feet a lot, especially if you go to trade shows.”
In addition, the plaintiff argued that he was in the final stages of beginning a career switch which was contingent on passing a physical exam. The plaintiff said he could not pass the exam because of his injuries, and lost the opportunity as a result.
Grimes said the defense strongly contested the future wage loss claim, saying that the plaintiff’s education and intelligence should compensate for his inability to stand for long periods, and that the injuries should not impact his ability to work from a sitting position.
In the end, the claims went to mediation where the plaintiff successfully used medical illustrations to diagram the extent of the knee injuries, both before and after the surgeries.
While mediation ended after a day without a settlement, offers were discussed and a compromise was considered. Soon thereafter, the carrier agreed to the $800,000 settlement.
SETTLEMENT REPORT – PERSONAL INJURY
Injuries alleged: Posterior cruciate ligament tear in right knee, lateral corner ligament and medial meniscal tear, abrasive plica and abrasions and road rash
Case name: Withheld
Mediator: F. Lane Williamson of Tin Fulton Walker & Owen in Charlotte
Date of settlement: Oct. 2, 2017
Most helpful experts: Maria Vargas, MS, CRC, CLCP in Charlotte; and Glenn Perry, MD, in Charlotte
Attorneys for plaintiff: Elizabeth G. Grimes and Michael A. DeMayo of the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo in Charlotte
Attorney for defendant: Withheld