Underlying Policy Limit Plus Excess Coverage Settlement Reached for Chronic Back Injury
Plaintiff Josh Parker was traveling the 45 mile per hour speed limit near his house in Highland, Illinois. He had the undisputed right of way on this country road when, suddenly, the Defendant made a left turn into his path. The Defendant had a stop sign at the intersection. He admitted fault, telling police that he had "zoned out" and failed to look for oncoming traffic prior to pulling out.
The crash exacerbated a L4-L5 disc issue that Mr. Parker had underwent treatment for from 2015 until 2018. He underwent a partial left facetectomy at L4-L5 in 2016 at The Laser Spine Institute. He had been mostly symptom free for two years before the crash. The Laser Spine Institute went out of business abruptly in March of 2019. They left no entity to wind up their business, meaning many patients are unable to obtain their surgery records, which later became an issue in the case.
Mr. Parker treated at a chiropractor, physical therapist, and received injections at an orthopedist. An MRI revealed an annular fissure at L4-L5 that had not been present on his last MRI from January of 2018. Progressive refused to accept that this accident caused any new issues for Mr. Parker, attributing his symptoms to his earlier difficulties. Progressive initially offered $21,600, which was insufficient to even cover the special damages.
After exhausting conservative treatment options, Mr. Parker went to Dr. Joseph Yazdi, a board certified neurosurgeon. Dr. Yazdi recommended surgery as the only way to alleviate the chronic back symptoms. Because Mr. Parker has not actually had the surgery, Progressive sent Mr. Parker's medical records to an "independent" doctor for review. Progressive's doctor agreed with our orthopedist's evaluation, and subsequently offered the full $100,000 limits.
Prior to accepting the $100,000 limits, the Defendant was asked to sign an Affidavit of No Excess Coverage. The Defendant disclosed that they had an excess coverage with Electric Insurance. "This was surprising as most insurance companies only sell excess coverage if the underlying limits are at least $250,000. We believe that this particular excess policy may have been grandfathered in. It pays to be diligent about asking even if existence of policy unlikely." said plaintiff's lawyer Stephen Gerring of The Gerring Law Firm. A $90,000 excess coverage settlement was reached shortly thereafter.