Our client, a 33-year-old man, was seriously injured when the ATV that he was driving crested the top of a hill on a dirt road in North Scottsdale, and collided with an automobile head-on. Our client was not wearing a seatbelt, and consequently he was thrown approximately 30 feet from the ATV. He was taken from the scene of the accident by ambulance to the hospital, where it was determined that he had sustained a broken left shinbone, dislocated left knee, dislocated left hip, and a laceration of the right knee down to the kneecap. He underwent three separate surgeries to repair the multiple fractures and dislocations of his hip and knee. The surgeons placed numerous pins in his left hip, and a metal plate in his left shinbone. His medical expenses exceeded $200,000.
The sheriff’s deputy who investigated the accident noted in his report that our client was driving “too fast for conditions” and “failed to keep in the proper lane,” while, on the other hand, the driver of the automobile exhibited “no improper action” and was driving only “5-10mph” at the time of the collision. As a result of the officer’s assessment, the insurance company representing the driver of the car contested liability. Our investigation showed, however, that each party was partially to blame for the accident, because each party failed to avoid the collision.
In Arizona, a police officer’s opinions and conclusions contained in an accident report are inadmissible in court. Therefore, the insurance company would have been unable to use the sheriff’s report as evidence at trial, and it was forced to eventually concede that the driver of the automobile was at least partially at fault for the accident.
Given the severity of our client’s injuries and the possibility of a permanent impairment, the insurance company offered to settle the claim for its full policy limit of $250,000. Our client accepted the settlement offer.
In connection with the settlement, we successfully negotiated $160,000 in medical liens down to $32,000, which enabled our client to retain a significantly larger portion of the settlement.
The information contained in this article should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any matter discussed. The contents are intended for general information purposes only. Always consult a qualified attorney for legal advice on a specific matter.
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