Pre-existing conditions

Firm Wins $350K for Shoulder Injury with Pre-Existing Condition

Before she could react, a car had run the light and T-boned the driver side of CR’s car, causing it to spin around. One minute before the crash, CR, a former deputy sheriff, was a very active citizen in good physical and mental health. Years prior, CR had undergone shoulder surgery. Yet, she had healed well and was “living her best life.” She was independent and vibrant, enjoying traveling, volunteering, working as a private caretaker and tutor to two middle school-aged children, and spending time with family. 

The at-fault party’s insurance company argued, as always, that the crash did not cause CR’s shoulder condition because of the previous surgery. The fact that CR had a pre-existing injury to her shoulder, which had well-healed and returned to normal use, was a far cry from her torn rotator cuff. The torn rotator was a result of the crash caused by a careless and negligent driver.

We did not deny CR’s prior shoulder surgery from previous years. We embraced that fact. The medical records were undeniable, showing the now acutely injured, shredded shoulder. Comparison of before and after medical records, including MRI films and X-rays, were evidence. We successfully countered the insurance company’s assertions that “this crash did not cause her injuries” with proof of CR’s active pre-crash lifestyle coupled with the medical records and wage documentation. 

When something is broken or weakened (i.e., a chair leg, teacup), although put back together with glue, or screws and bolts, there must still be caution against cracking or breaking again, thus the “egg-shell” theory. CR, like many people, was a real-life Humpty-Dumpty after her accident. Thankfully, CR was forthright and shared her medical history with us, allowing me to understand better the gravity of her injuries and anxieties and her story. The feeling of fear, anxiety, and being alone as a single person who needs surgery is scary for many people. Questions such as “how will I get to the bathroom, get medicine, food, walk my dog…what if I need help in the middle of the night or have a reaction to a medication, need help paying bills” are common and very human concerns.

The Law Office of Salesia Smith-Gordon was able to garner the policy limits from both the at-fault party and CR’s Underinsured Motorist (UM) policy benefits for a gross award of $350,000 for the shoulder surgery and conservative treatment of other areas of her body impacted from the crash plus her loss of income, and human damages. Pre-existing conditions are part of each person’s life. But, when a condition is new or worsened and substantiated by testimony, the injury-related loss should receive compensation. Whether in younger years or a senior citizen’s golden years, pain hurts, and financial loss is real because but for negligence, there would be no harm for victims like CR to endure. The Law Office of Salesia Smith-Gordon team fights to help restore the lives of each client and obtain the justice they deserve.