In February 2015, a 44 year old man was pulled over by an Iowa State Trooper for speeding. As the State Trooper was writing the ticket, his vehicle, left un-parked, rolled down a slight decline and rear ended our client’s vehicle. No noticeable physical damage was done to either vehicle. The impact was recorded on the Trooper’s dash cam and the defense experts said there was no way our client was hurt by the impact. We had to reconstruct what happened.
As it turned out, the client was looking down at the time of impact signing his warning ticket. Despite looking fine on the dash cam and returning to work, the following day he went to his doctor because he was experiencing pain and tingling in his arm. He was diagnosed with a cervical muscle strain and mild paresthesia. The radiating pain continued so an MRI was ordered showing “very advanced degeneration”. He had an anterior cervical discectomy surgery and suffered a complication of right vocal cord paralysis, a known but rare complication of the surgery. While his voice got better, he now suffers with less breathing capacity and swallowing difficulty.
The State of Iowa retained expert neurosurgeon Dr. Todd Ridenour from Davenport, Iowa and physiatrist Dr. Joseph Chen from University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics who gave opinions that the client’s on-going neck and back complaints were caused primarily by preexisting degenerative changes and/or the client’s active lifestyle, which included horseback riding. Just three weeks before trial, counsel for the State of Iowa disclosed a conglomeration of the client’s Facebook posts taken after the first accident with the police cruiser showing the client horseback riding, ziplining, and boating. The Facebook posts predated Trial Lawyer’s for Justice’s involvement in the case. Further complicating matters, the client was involved in two subsequent motor vehicle collisions. After an October 2, 2015 collision, the client complained of neck pain, and following a third collision on February 9, 2017, which was a high speed collision, the client received emergency medical care for neck pain following the third collision.
Our client continued working full time to take care of his family so there was no wage loss claim. We also waived past medicals of approximately $50,000. The Friday before trial was set to begin in Linn County District Court, the State of Iowa offered $975,000 to settle the case. Prior to TL4J being brought into the case, the State of Iowa made no offers to settle the case despite repeated demands.
Trial Lawyers for Justice was represented by Courtney Rowley, Nicholas Rowley, Dominic Pechota, and Matt Reilly.