Emergency Surgery to Prevent Paralysis – $900,000 Settlement: Our client was a law enforcement officer who responded to a traffic accident on I-12. As EMS responders provided aid to the victims, the officer began directing traffic through the accident scene and into an open lane of travel. It was a rainy dark evening and the officer had his yellow reflective suit on and was holding his flashlight to direct traffic.
As he motioned for traffic to change lanes and merge, one driver chose to maintain his vision on oncoming traffic and not the officer. This decision caused the driver to come too close to the officer at the point of acceleration. As the driver accelerated to merge, he struck the officer who was attempting evasive action. The officer was struck in the lower back and bounced off the hood of the merging vehicle. The officer was able to recover to his unit and give chase, eventually stopping the motorist.
In the next couple of days, the officer began to experience unbearable low back pain and loss of feeling in his legs. He presented to a specialist and upon obtaining an MRI, the officer was identified as being at immediate risk for paralysis. The accident had ruptured a low back disc so severely that it had partially begun to severe his spinal cord. This condition is known as cauda equina syndrome. The officer underwent an emergency fusion of the vertebras within his lower back, wherein multiple sets of titanium hardware and screws were used to create a large union.
As a result of post-surgery restrictions and possible inability to perform as a patrol officer, the officer had to be reassigned to a position with more administrative function.
The merging driver and his insurance company denied ever striking the police officer, and as such, denied all liability. Despite this non-meritorious defense, our attorneys successfully made the above recovery for this police officer and assisted him in his transition to his new duty assignment.