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’Twas the night before trial

By February 4, 2016Personal Injury

Four years after the date of her motor vehicle accident and just before the case went to trial, one of the firm’s personal injury clients gratefully accepted a six figure settlement.

“While the accident was clearly the fault of the other driver, the insurance company and attorneys for the defendant fought the case vigorously on other grounds,” said Christopher Kerr, the attorney who handled the case for Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys at Law.

Insurers argued that twelve years before the client had been involved in another accident and sustained similar injuries to her neck. One doctor recommended surgery at that time, but the client was able to return to work and stop receiving treatment after two years. Defense experts were reportedly prepared to testify that the more recent collision was not forceful enough to cause any serious injury. However, the client found her symptoms were significantly worsened by the second accident in 2011, to the extent that she underwent surgery on her neck.

The hard-fought settlement was achieved with the help of the client’s neurosurgeon, who was expected to testify that the client may never have needed the surgery if not for the second accident.

“A prior injury or condition does not disqualify a plaintiff from meeting New York’s ‘serious injury’ statutory threshold,” Kerr said.

While her medical history was relevant, the fact the client made a good recovery and returned to work supported the argument that the surgery was necessary and related to the second injury. Aggravations or exacerbations of preexisting conditions are among the more difficult cases attorneys have to prove because juries can sometimes find there is no new serious injury, and then award nothing for pain and suffering. While a settlement is by definition an agreement that both sides find acceptable, our client in this case felt she won a hard-fought victory.