As a car accident lawyer in Missouri. I see many clients that have shoulder injuries after falls, bike accidents, pedestrian accidents, or car accidents that require surgery ranging from shoulder cuff surgery to repair the tendons and cartilage to full shoulder replacement surgery. Any good personal injury lawyer knows that not only must your client be paid for the medical bills incurred, but more importantly must be paid for the pain and suffering related to the injury, the surgery, recovery, and permanent disability or limitation to the shoulder for the future.
How do you prove past, present and ongoing limitation?
Typically, through the injured victims testimony about their injuries and the effect it has on their lives, as well as, testimony from co-workers, friends, and family.
More importantly, the testimony of a doctor, preferably the doctor that did the surgery, help tremendously to convey to a jury the harms and losses (money) that goes along with the injury, surgery and recovery. When asking a doctor about the future effects on the patient of the surgery, they typically like to paint it in the best light possible, after all, they did the surgery and hope a full recovery occurs. The best car accident lawyers know that they need to bring credible studies and reports about the short and long term effects of injuries so that the doctor can agree that long term problems do occur in patient populations. This adds money to the value of the case.
Pertaining to shoulder surgery, one recent study recommends “that patients wait at least six weeks, and optimally 12 weeks, to resume driving following shoulder replacement surgery.” See Patients should wait 6-to-12 weeks before driving after shoulder surgery. If something most of us do everyday with ease, driving, is restricted, imagine how other life activities are limited as a result of a shoulder injury after a car accident. This lends credibility to your other witnesses’ statements about the physical limitations the car crash victim is suffering thus lead to a larger personal injury verdict.
Use studies that are credible and the doctor will agree with. Such as the study above, it was performed by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, a well respected groups that is authoritative in the medical field. In the study patients were given a driving test before surgery, then while recovering from shoulder surgery, they were given driving tests at 2 weeks, 6 and 12 weeks after surgery. The findings:
- “There was a statistically significant difference in the mean number of collisions between the first and fourth test.”
There was about a 60% decrease in the number of car accidents in the simulator between the first post op driving test at 2 weeks and the final test at 12 weeks after surgery.
That is a big difference, so what other life activities are affected greatly? Picking up your kids or grand-kids, playing sports, work, household chores, sleeping, exercising, hobbies, etc….
At Sansone & Lauber, we believe “credibility is the currency of persuasion” and credibility must be earned through telling the truth but also in the short time we have with a jury at trial we earn that credibility by backing up our arguments with facts and studies. Any good personal injury lawyer knows you cannot just make an assertion to the jury and not back it up…yeah you may get away with it from time to time, but the fact is a typical juror does not trust lawyers of people in court, so you must back up your clients with undisputable facts, independent witnesses, and independent studies.