Denial Of Neck Surgery Reversed After Rear-End Crash

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DISCLAIMER: The results are specific to the facts and legal circumstances of each of the clients' cases and should not be used to form an expectation that the same results could be obtained for other clients in similar matters without reference to the specific factual and legal circumstances of each client's case.

Our client, a man nearing retirement, was driving on a Louisiana highway in the course of his duties at work. While waiting to make a turn, he stopped in the westbound turning lane, and another driver approached from behind, colliding with our client’s vehicle. As a result of that rear-end car accident, our client sustained back, neck, and psychological injuries that would have a far-reaching negative effect on his ability to live his life and do his work.

Symptoms of Neck Injury Not Relieved With Conservative Treatment

The client had immediate neck pain after the accident, and his symptoms increased over the next few hours. His employer took him to a doctor for evaluation. The doctor recommended conservative treatment with ongoing medication and physical therapy.

Over the course of his treatment, the client’s symptoms included neck pain that radiated to the left arm, with left-sided numbness and weakness. The client’s MRI showed serious disc damage in his neck, affecting both the bone structure and spinal cord. He completed a nerve conduction study that showed changes at the injured disc level. Joint injections were added to his treatment. The injections provided some short-term relief, but his symptoms continued to increase, and his pain was constant. His left hand remained weak and numb.

The client continued to work, but he was struggling with significant pain and weakness. He was unable to drive long distances or perform daily routine activities in his personal life such as caring for his home and yard. Some work duties, including turning heavy valves and pushing or pulling items, were very difficult and increased his pain.

Because conservative treatment was not effective in relieving the client’s symptoms, surgery was recommended. However, workers’ compensation refused to authorize the surgery.  

Help With a Workers’ Compensation Case and a Personal Injury Case

The client contacted Attorney Michael Koch for help with his case. Mike reassured him, answered his questions, and began working toward meeting the client’s goals. There were basically two parts to the client’s case:

  • The claim against the insurance company for his injuries caused by another driver
  • The claim against workers’ compensation for his injuries at work

The insurance company ultimately paid the policy limit of $100,000. Workers’ compensation had paid for conservative treatment of his neck injury and symptoms but continued to refuse to pay for the cervical fusion surgery recommended by our client’s doctor.

Mike knew that the surgery was very important to the client. To fight the denial, he used medical and other evidence to support the client’s claim. Mike argued that the evidence in our client’s case showed that neck surgery is an appropriate treatment that should be covered by workers’ compensation. The court ruled in the client’s favor and reversed the decision to deny the surgery. Because the employer had failed to provide appropriate medical treatment until that point, and because the reviewing doctor used by the company was not licensed in Louisiana, the court further ordered payment of penalties and attorneys’ fees totaling $10,000.

Mike and the client were both very pleased with the result. The client’s neck surgery was a great success, and he was happy to be able to move on with his life.

Getting hurt in a car accident at work creates complex legal questions, and it’s important to understand your rights. If you have questions about a complicated accident case, you can get help today by reaching out to the experienced attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.541.8188


Michael S. Koch
Attorney Michael Koch represents personal injury victims throughout Louisiana and the surrounding area.