My client flew around the world by piloting large jet airplanes. However, he met with bad luck when he seriously injured his wrist in a kiteboarding accident. He was taken to the hospital, where he was introduced to an orthopedic surgeon to surgically repair his smashed wrist. When he performed the surgery, the negligent surgeon placed three screws into the joint space of the wrist. This resulted in the screw tips scraping against the delicate cartilage of my client’s wrist.
My client knew something was wrong because his wrist hurt so much, so he followed up with another orthopedic surgeon. That doctor ordered an MRI. It showed clearly the three screw tips in the joint space, where they were damaging the glistening smooth cartilage that lines the wrist bones. The doctor had to perform another surgery to remove the screws and replace the hardware that had been inserted by the first negligent surgeon. Unfortunately, the damage to my client’s wrist cartilage had already been done.
The insurance company refused to settle the case early. I retained experts in radiology, orthopedics and vocational rehabilitation. Our orthopedic surgeon testified that the damage to the wrist joint was permanent and that over time, my pilot client would likely experience significant arthritis and deterioration in his wrist. This would affect his ability to operate the controls of the large jet planes he flew, making it unsafe to work as a pilot. The vocational rehabilitation expert was able to explain the loss of earning capacity as a result of this inevitable loss of function in the wrist.
After litigating this case almost all the way to trial, the insurance company for the negligent doctor finally paid the limits of insurance available in a confidential settlement. It is always frustrating when the insurance companies refuse to take responsibility until a lot of money is spent with experts and litigation.