Our client was injured while on the job as a bus driver when another vehicle crashed into his bus. Following the incident, our client was seen by doctors through his workers compensation carrier related to pain to his left shoulder. An MRI was ordered. The results of the MRI indicated a micro size stress fracture involving the shoulder bone head. Some rotator cuff tendon inflammation was also noted. He was then referred to an orthopedic surgeon. Our client was examined by the orthopedic surgeon who gave him an injection into his shoulder, Percocet, and a prescription for physical therapy three times a week. For safety reasons, he was told to not work as a bus driver due to the use of only one shoulder. With this treatment plan, his symptoms did not improve. At the follow up consultation it was assessed that our client possibly developed scar tissue which did not allow him to have full range of motion. He was given Ambien for sleep, because the shoulder pain was affecting his sleep, and continued physical therapy. Subsequently, after no improvement, the orthopedic surgeon recommended surgery due to his decreased range of motion and constant pain. The doctor expressed the need for the patient to address his Coumdain dosing (as to when to stop it, prior to or after surgery, as our client was chronically on a blood thinner, Coumadin, due to two previous deep vein blood clots which prevents him from taking anti-inflammatory medication). A preoperative physical was given for surgery clearance. Our client then underwent surgery. While our client was under anesthesia his range of motion was examined and found to be limited in all planes. He was manipulated in all planes with steady pressure until the adhesion released. A scope was then placed inside the shoulder to clear away any extra growth and inflamed tissue. After the surgery, our client was examined by the surgeon and some improvement was noted. He continued physical therapy but still complained of pain going down his arm and back with swelling below his shoulder blade. Two months after his operation his range of motion, especially reaching behind, was not as full in the left arm compared to the right. Our client experienced what is commonly known as a frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis. The pain in the shoulder is due to inflammation of the surrounding tendons; as a result, range of motion in the shoulder is lost.
The driver of the car that crashed into our client’s bus only carried $25,000 of insurance which they paid. Our client was also eligible for up to $300,000 worth of underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) available under the insurance policy for the bus. Based on our evaluation of the case, we determined that the value of our client’s case merited payment of the $300,000 of UIM coverage. As such, we demanded that the UIM insurance company tender or pay the $300,000. In response, the insurance company mailed us a check for $24,000. We rejected this offer, returned the check, and filed a lawsuit on behalf of our client in the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County. In response, the insurance company removed the case to federal court and litigation commenced. Ultimately, the insurance company tendered or paid the full $300,000 of available UIM coverage.