$48.5 MILLION

Truck Accident Multimillion-Dollar Settlement.

"M.A.," a 30-year-old man, was driving to work in New Mexico. Suddenly a commercial truck veered across the center line and struck his vehicle head on. M.A. died at the scene. The McNeely Stephenson firm was hired shortly after the crash to represent the family of the deceased.

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Indianapolis Surgery Malpractice Attorney

In 2011, 79-year-old “CC” was experiencing severe low back pain which radiated down the back of her leg and into her calf. CC was referred to “MD,” an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in spine surgery and practices with a large group of orthopedic physicians at one of the major hospitals in Indianapolis. After obtaining a lumbar MRI scan and examining CC, MD recommended that she undergo an L4-L5 lumbar laminectomy surgery to be performed at the hospital.

On January 11, 2011, the surgery was performed as scheduled. Unfortunately, CC was in such severe pain after the surgery that, after release from the hospital, she had to go to a nursing home for two weeks of rehabilitation before she was able to go home. After returning home, CC’s low back pain improved very little. Six weeks after surgery she returned to MD and expressed her concern. MD advised that she had severe arthritis in her back and that he had not guaranteed that all her back pain would be relieved by surgery. No further testing was ordered and CC left with no further follow up appointments scheduled.

CC assumed she just had to live with the pain. However, 18 months later, in the summer of 2012, the pain got so bad that CC sought further medical care in an effort to relieve her pain. She was referred to “AA,” another orthopedic spine surgeon. AA examined CC and reviewed her X-rays and an MRI scan which was done several months earlier. AA then obtained and reviewed MD’s January 11, 2011, operative report. Much to AA’s surprise, the MRI and X-rays conclusively showed that MD had performed the lumbar laminectomy at L3-L4, which was the wrong level of the spine! It was obvious from the medical records that MD was unaware that he had performed the surgery at the wrong level. Surgeon AA wrote a very detailed letter to CC stating clearly and unequivocally that MD had performed the surgery at the wrong level and that she would need to have the surgery again at the L4-L5 level.

A couple of months before the two-year statute of limitations would expire, CC came to my office to discuss her options. After listening to CC’s story, we obtained all of her pertinent medical records and radiology films. I was familiar with MD, her original surgeon, and sent a letter to his attorney advising him of CC’s situation and provided him with a copy of the letter from surgeon AA, confirming that MD had performed surgery at the incorrect level, as well as copies of MD’s records.

I assumed, very incorrectly, that when confronted with this terrible mistake, MD and his medical malpractice insurance carrier would want to quickly and professionally address the matter.

I asked MD’s attorney if MD and his insurance carrier, Medical Protective, would agree to extend the statute of limitations for a couple of months to see if a settlement could be reached. After MD’s attorney consulted with Medical Protective, I was advised that they refused to extend the statute of limitations. A timely complaint was then filed against MD with the Indiana Department of Insurance.

After the complaint was filed and served upon MD, the same attorney I had been dealing with for some time was retained to defend MD. That attorney filed a formal answer to the complaint. I felt a direct and professional approach to this matter would be appreciated by all involved and would save both time and money. I sent a letter to MD’s attorney asking once again if, based upon the facts of this case, the matter could be settled without the necessity of forming a medical review panel of three independent orthopedic surgeons to review this case. I again asked if MD’s insurance carrier, Medical Protective, would make any offer, and was again told “no offer would be made without a medical review panel decision,” to determine if operating at the incorrect level of CC’s spine met the standard of care for orthopedic surgeons.

The process to select a Chairman for the review panel and then three members of the medical review panel took months. I took the deposition of MD, during which he admitted that he had operated at the wrong level — where CC did not need surgery. MD further admitted that he did not meet his own standard of medical care.

With MD’s admission that he had operated at the wrong level and had not met his own standard of medical care, yet another request was made to Medical Protective to make an offer to settle this matter. The answer was still the same: “No offer would be made.” My belief was that Medical Protective wanted to delay this case in the hope that CC would pass away. If that were to occur, the value of her claim would be significantly reduced. There was no other logical conclusion.

CC was 83 years old and now needed a second spine surgery to address the original problem that was not properly addressed in January of 2011. Additionally, she was forced to proceed with fighting MD and his insurance carrier’s defenseless position. Fortunately the second surgery, in August 2013, proceeded without any major complication and CC’s low back and radiating leg pain were resolved.

The Medical Review Panel was convened in April 2014, and the three orthopedic surgeons unanimously agreed that MD did not meet the standard of care when he operated at the incorrect level of CC’s lumbar spine. Even with MD’s sworn testimony and the Medical Review Panel’s unanimous decision, Medical Protective still refused to make any offer. CC’s only option was to submit the matter to a jury.

Finally, four months before the scheduled jury trial was to begin, a mediation was held and Medical Protective finally offered to settle CC’s claim. By this time, CC was 84 years old and she did not want to be forced to go through the rigors of a jury trial. In my opinion, the offer that she accepted was too low for the pain and anxiety that she had experienced, but she agreed to settle her claim.

To discourage other individuals such as CC from filing medical malpractice claims, Medical Protective’s motto seems to be to “Punish the victim.

real-life cases

“B.K.” was driving on a two-lane road one Sunday afternoon with his mother in the front seat and his brother and sister-in-law in the back seat when his life was forever changed. B.K. was struck head on by D.C.

D.C. had spent the day drinking with a friend and had stopped at a restaurant less than five miles from the point of the accident where D.C. had been served several drinks. D.C.’s blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

As a result of the terrible wreck, B.K. received devastating injuries, which included multiple broken bones, facial fractures, and loss of vision. B.K.’s mother, brother, and sister-in-law were all killed in the accident.

As one would anticipate, D.C. had virtually no insurance. Stephenson, through his thorough and detailed investigation, was able to prepare claims against the restaurant and those that provided the alcohol.

Stephenson pursued dram shop claims against those responsible CASE SUMMARY

D.H. was a competitive bicyclist who was riding in preparation for a cross-country fundraising ride. In the spring of 2010, D.H. was riding across an old steel-grated deck bridge in Shelby County when he hit a hole in the bridge and flipped over the handlebars of his bike. The impact to the bridge decking caused severe injuries to his face, teeth, tongue, and elbow.

Through the investigation, they were able to learn as early as 1998, the bridge inspection reports showed the bridge in question needed to be replaced. The county never authorized additional inspections. The county obtained $844,000 in funding for the replacement of the bridge in 2000, but the Historical Society and adjacent property owners wanted the bridge repaired rather than replaced.

This crash could have been avoided if the inspectors and county had done their jobs. CASE SUMMARY

Our client (“D.W.”) was a front-seat passenger in a vehicle that was struck by a UDF truck making deliveries. D.W. received broken arms and legs, as well as internal injuries. Stephenson was retained by D.W.’s personal counsel to prepare and try the case. Discovery determined that the UDF driver had multiple driving violations. Stephenson retained numerous experts to show the jury the devastating effects of the injuries. Before trial, the defendant’s company stated that a jury in a small southern county in Indiana would never return a verdict for $1 million in this case.

The defendant was correct; the verdict was twice that amount. CASE SUMMARY

Hand the worry over to us and let our resources back you up.

Mike Stephenson is a Martindale-Hubbell AV-rated attorney, the highest possible attorney peer rating. When you call Mike, you can have complete confidence that you are talking with an Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyer with over 30 years’ experience offering compassionate and successful representation for his clients.

Contact McNeely Stephenson today using our contact form, or call 855-206-2555.

Updates
Personal Injury Lawyer
July 23, 2018 / Personal Injury, Vehicle Accidents
Make Your Time off Safer

It’s high summer, and there’s no denying that many of our minds are on vacation time and having fun. Whether you’ll be driving, taking a plane, or staying home, we have some ideas for you so that your entire family can enjoy vacation time safely. Hitting the Highway AAA estimates that nearly 47 million of us will be on the road over the Fourth of July holiday alone. If you’ll be joining the many millions traveling by passenger vehicle t...

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Mike Stephenson is a Super Lawyer in Indiana along with many of his peers at McNeely Stephenson. This is one of the highest honors an attorney can achieve

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The AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale Hubbell is the HIGHEST RATING and considered a significant accomplishment. It is a peer-reviewed process reflecting that other attorneys rank Mike Stephenson at the highest possible level of professional excellence.

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Attorney Mike Stephenson is a proud member of The Litigation Counsel of America’s Honorary Society. A close-knit, peer-selected, and aggressively diverse honorary society of 3,500 of the “best trial lawyers” in the country. Less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers, vigorously vetted for skills, expertise, and service; an invitation-only collegial network.

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The American Board of Trial Advocates is an invitation-only organization for attorneys of “high personal character and honorable reputation.” ABOTA works for the preservation of the civil jury trial, “Justice by the People,” and supports the right of a jury trial.

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Our attorneys are proven advocates and trial attorneys. They have served as lead trial counsel in more than 100 civil jury trials, and have handled litigation in 18 states