Kindergarten Teacher Rear-Ended Twice within Minutes ($108,000)
A 31 year old Kindergarten Teacher suffered from two crashes within minutes of one another. She was exiting the freeway when she was rear-ended and pushed into the vehicle ahead of her. Her airbags deployed. She noticed immediate aching in her neck and back. She pulled over and exited her vehicle, leaning into the back seat to get her purse and phone, when another passing vehicle rear-ended her parked car. This secondary impact tossed her into the air and ricocheted her between the door and frame, twisting her body with an audible cracking sound in her back, causing her head to strike the frame, and ultimately throwing her to the ground with all her weight landing on her right knee.
Following a visit to the emergency room, she sought chiropractic care and followed recommendations for physical therapy and pool therapy, as well as neurological and orthopedic consults. She sustained a slight scar to her forehead from striking the door frame, injury to her right knee which led to successful arthroscopic surgical repair, a compression fracture to a vertebrae in her low back, PTSD from fear of driving, and soft tissue injuries to her neck and back. She was unable to fully return to work for several months. Once she did, her pain and mood impaired her work function, ultimately leading to her resignation as a kindergarten teacher.
The majority of her injuries, and certainly the most significant ones, occurred during the second collision. Total combined medical expenses exceeded $59,000. Two incidents were claimed for No-Fault/PIP coverage, allowing recovery of $30,000 in medical PIP benefits under her own policy. Liability (BI) and Under Insured Motorist (UIM) benefits were recovered for the two incidents totaling an additional $78,000. Through negotiation, Denise Fullerton was able to gain agreement by the health insurer to waive the majority of its recovery interest for medical bills paid, preserving the entirety of the BI and UIM recoveries for the benefit of this plaintiff.