Our client was driving her Jeep Cherokee eastbound on U.S. Highway 26, about three miles north of Madras. At the same time, the adverse driver was driving an Oldsmobile Bravada – owned by his mother – westbound on the same stretch of highway. The road surface was covered in ice and snow. Our client estimated her speed at the time at 30 miles per hour and the adverse driver estimated his speed at 45 – 50 miles per hour. However, his SUV began to fishtail, he lost control, then continued to slide sideways into our client’s lane of travel, directly in front of her Jeep. A high-impact crash resulted, and both vehicles were a total loss.
The Jeep’s driver’s side of the vehicle was crushed, leaving our client trapped inside. Firefighters worked with hydraulic tools for about a half hour before they could extricate her from the Jeep. During that time, paramedics immobilized her spine, but were unable to reach her right ankle, which sustained an open and comminuted fracture in the crash. She also had broken ribs and suffered a severe concussion in the accident
Our client was taken by ambulance to Mountain View Hospital in Madras, where surgery was attempted. Physicians there determined that she needed a higher level of care and, about three hours after the accident, she was taken by ambulance to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend. Given the road conditions, the trip was slow going, and ended up taking two hours and 10 minutes. Doctors at St. Charles performed emergency surgery on her ankle, placing a plate and multiple surgical screws.
Unfortunately, the anchoring screw placed in the first surgery broke and, as such, there was no fracture union. After developing severe erosive degenerative arthritis and bone-on-bone contact in the joint, our client underwent two additional surgeries; one to fuse her ankle and a second to remove the hardware, which was causing her a great deal of pain, with permanent residual deficits.
Difficulties of the Case
Another local attorney was handling this case, and had filed a lawsuit after being unable to obtain a reasonable settlement. However, he retired soon after, and his firm felt it was unable to handle the complexities involved in personal injury litigation, so they hired our firm to take over the case.
The defendant’s insurance company denied that the accident was their driver’s fault – arguing simply that people lose control on ice. It also disagreed as to the amount a reasonable jury would compensate our client for her pain and suffering (noneconomic damages).
Action Taken by Dwyer Williams Dretke
We took over the case in litigation, and proceeded through discovery. We obtained detailed records concerning the other driver’s driving record, insurance, and property damage. We also worked up the facts about the accident, how it happened, and what he could have, and should have, done differently to avoid the collision altogether. Additionally, we worked closely with our client’s medical team to determine what her related injuries were, what treatment she might need in the future, as well as how much that treatment was expected to cost.
How We Resolved the Case
We pushed the case into mediation where, with the aid of an experienced mediator, we convinced the insurance carrier that it should take this case seriously. After nearly a full day of mediation, we were able to settle the case for $350,000 in additional to what had already been paid by our client’s motor vehicle insurer (who would be reimbursed from the bad driver’s insurance company independently). We also reduced the amount of money our client was obligated to reimburse her health insurance company out of the settlement. Ultimately, our client was very pleased with the result, as was the firm that referred us her case.
At Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys we aggressively pursue justice and fair compensation for all of our clients. If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident, please contact us today for a FREE consultation. If you need more proof of our success take a look at more of our settlements.