Noah was driving through an intersection in Gainesville, Georgia when a car coming the other direction turned left in front of him. He tried to avoid the wreck but couldn’t. The other car crashed into his driver’s side door, forcing him off the road and down an embankment. Noah injured his neck and head in the wreck. His doctors diagnosed him with occipital neuralgia and ligament laxity caused by the wreck. The Friday before the case was set to go to trial, we secured a $150,000 settlement from State Farm, which was more than three times his medical bills.
Here’s Noah’s car after the wreck:
The police ticketed the other driver for the wreck and he paid the ticket and pled guilty to it, so the only issues in the case were Noah’s injuries and fair compensation for them.
Noah initially didn’t think he was hurt. A family member came and picked him up from the wreck and took him home. Later that day his neck started hurting and he developed a headache. He went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with strains and sprains of his neck and discharged.
Noah kept having headaches and neck pain over the next several weeks. He went to see his primary care doctor, who diagnosed him with neck strains and sprains and prescribed him medication. When that didn’t help, Noah went to see an orthopedist. The doctor initially pinpointed a herniated disc as the cause of Noah’s problems and ordered physical therapy and cervical facet joint injections. A cervical facet joint injection is where medication is injected into the facet joints of the neck to try to numb the nerves of the herniated disc that’s causing pain.
Occipital Neuralgia Diagnosis
The cervical facet joint injections helped but Noah continued having neck pain and headaches. His doctor then diagnosed him with occipital neuralgia, which is an injury to the nerves in your head and neck. It can be caused by car wrecks and causes neck pain and headaches like Noah had been experiencing. Doctors tried treating it with a series of occipital nerve blocks, which numb the nerve causing pain.
While Noah got some relief from the nerve blocks, they would wear off and his pain and headaches would return. Over the next couple of years he saw a series of doctors who all diagnosed him with occipital neuralgia and all treated him without much success for it.
Ligament Laxity Diagnosis
Noah was finally referred to a neurologist who confirmed the occipital neuralgia diagnosis and also diagnosed him with ligament laxity. Ligament laxity is typically caused by car wrecks. It happens when the ligaments that hold your head and neck in place get torn and stretched out when your head snaps back and forth during a car wreck. It’s similar to a rubber band that’s been stretched too much and doesn’t snap back to its shape anymore. It can be hard to diagnose because it has symptoms similar to a herniated disc or occipital neuralgia and can’t typically be detected using a CT scan or an MRI.
The neurologist referred Noah to an orthopedist who specializes in treating ligament laxity. The doctor ordered platelet rich plasma (“PRP”) injections for Noah’s neck, which is where a mixture of platelets and plasma is injected into the ligaments to help the tendons strengthen and rebuild. The doctor also ordered radiofrequency ablations for Noah’s neck, where doctors burn away the nerve that’s causing pain.
Thankfully, the PRP injections and radiofrequency ablations helped with Noah’s pain and symptoms and he’s doing much better, though he will need to keep seeing his doctors to keep his symptoms under control.
Trial & Settlement
The case was set for trial in April 2016. State Farm never made a settlement offer until the week before trial. The Friday before trial State Farm finally offered a $150,000 settlement, which Noah accepted.
The key to this result was the testimony of three of Noah’s doctors. Since the doctors could not come testify at trial, we videotaped their testimony to play for the jury. All three doctors testified that Noah’s injuries were caused by the car wreck and each described how occipital neuralgia and ligament laxity can be caused by car wrecks. The neurologist and orthopedist who specialized in treating ligament laxity both explained that the long delay in diagnosing him with ligament laxity was normal. They said most of their patients with that diagnosis have seen multiple doctors and failed to respond to treatment before they were finally diagnosed with and treated for ligament laxity. Perhaps most importantly, both doctors testified that when they began treating Noah for ligament laxity he recovered, confirming the diagnosis.
We had Medivisuals prepare the medical illustrations shown above and Noah’s doctors used them to explain Noah’s treatment. We were also prepared to introduce Noah’s medical records from his family doctor for several years before the wreck, which showed that he was healthy and had no symptoms.
This was a good result for a deserving client and I’m glad to have been able to help him.
Contact Me for Help with Your Case
I understand what you’re going through, and I want to help. Call (678) 695-6490 to speak with me today, or contact me online. Consultations are always free, and I work on a contingency basis. You won’t have to pay unless I get a judgment or settlement for you.