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Case Study Insurance Company Tries To Minimize Injuries To Avoid Paying Damages

On May 6, 2002, thirty-two year-old Sarah Brown was rear-ended on Interstate 405 near the Renton S-curves. The other driver was insured by Farmers Insurance Company. Ms.

Brown received injuries to her neck and back. Her medical expenses were $18,205, including $10,500 in chiropractic charges. A lumbar spine MRI revealed a protruding disc that was non-surgical according to her doctor. The last offer from Farmers was $50,000. Mr. Davis presented just four (4) witnesses, including Ms.

Larsen and two of her doctors. After a 3-day trial, a jury awarded $500,000. The Facts Of The Case On May 6, 2002, Sarah Brown was rear-ended while stopped on Interstate 405 in Renton, Washington. The police were called. Ms. Browns's car received moderate damage.

She was able to drive away from the scene. The defendant, Jennifer Combs, was 23 years old at the time. She was cited for inattentive driving.

Ms. Brown drove to work but then left after a few hours. She complained of pain to her neck, shoulders, back and hip.

She saw a doctor the next day. The doctor diagnosed her with straining injuries to her neck and back, and contusions to her chest and left breast. She was referred to physical therapy and given medications for pain. Ms. Brown decided to see a chiropractor for her ongoing neck and back pain. A cervical spine MRI revealed a small bulging disc at C5-6.

Her neck pain largely resolved after one year. Approximately one year following the accident, her low back pain worsened. She was admitted to the ER at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland, Washington. Ms. Brown continued to see a chiropractor for her ongoing low back pain. The pain had worsened by going down her legs and into her right big toe.

A lumbar spine MRI was ordered in October 2005, which revealed a protruding disc at L4-5. Ms. Brown was referred to a neurosurgeon who did not believe surgery was necessary. The neurosurgeon advised Ms.

Brown to continue with chiropractic care since her complaints were being managed with this treatment. Ms. Brown sought a second opinion from a doctor that specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery. This doctor also advised her to continue with chiropractic care instead of surgical intervention.

Seattle attorney, Christopher M. Davis attempted to settle Ms. Brown's case after she underwent the lumbar spine MRI in October 2005. However, Farmers ignored his offer to settle and tried to minimize the extent of Ms. Brown's injuries.

At that point, Mr. Davis started to prepare for trial. He met with Ms. Brown's doctors and prepared trial exhibits.

More than $5,000 was incurred in litigation costs. About one month before trial, Farmers finally offered to settle the case for $50,000. Mr.

Davis advised his client to reject the offer and go to trial. The attorney hired by Farmers requested that the case be heard by a jury and paid the required jury fee to the court. Trial commenced on June 22. Mr. Davis presented just 4 witnesses, including Ms.

Brown, her friend and two doctors. After 3.5 hours of deliberation, the jury awarded $500,000, including past economic damages of $20,605, future economic damages of $275,000 and noneconomic damages of $204,395. *Some names have been changed to protect our client's privacy.

Christopher M. Davis is the managing partner of Davis Law Group. He brings over 15 years of practical yet innovative experience to personal injury cases. He practices law in Seattle, WA. You can learn more about Mr. Davis at or visit

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