Roofer Injured in Rear-end Collision

A roofing contractor hired Dennis Phillips after having been rear-ended at a stoplight in broad daylight. His neck was in pain, but it was the constant headaches and multiple near-falls off of a ladder that made him pursue the claim.

Plain X-rays at the hospital were negative for fracture, and the client was sent home with the usual anti-inflammatories and something for pain with instructions to follow up if symptoms persisted. They did. In fact, the symptoms became life threatening since the client was getting dizzy on and off throughout the day, to the point that he almost fell off a ladder on more than one occasion.

MRI films showed some disc damage and some pre-existing arthritic changes, but nothing to explain his intermittent dizzy spells. So we got him a Digital Motion X-ray (DMX) study, which is really just a video X-ray. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, how much more is a video worth? In this case, it may have saved his life. We learned that damage to the alar and accessory ligaments in the C1-C2 space allow the C1 vertebral body to slide way off to the side in certain head positions, and this occluded our client’s vertebral artery.

Every time this happened, it cut off some of the blood supply to his brain. This finding was so significant that the doctor that performed the DMX study, began featuring it as part of his lectures to trial lawyer organizations and to other physicians.

Despite the clear medical evidence in our client’s favor, the bodily injury insurer for the at-fault driver and the UM insurer for our client refused to pay until we filed suit and took them to mediation on the eve of trial. The case then settled for $200,000 policy limits.