In 2015, TF was driving her vehicle between work sites when she was rear-ended by another driver who was also traveling between work sites as well. TF sustained an elbow injury which required surgery and a herniated disc in the low back that was treated with therapy and injections. Because TF was traveling for work, she was required to go through the workers' compensation system for her treatment.
TF treated with the physicians hired by her employer and their worker's comepnsation carrier through 2018, and was able to resolve her case for $47,154.82. This represented 15% of the elbow and 17 1/2% of the body as a whole for the unoperated herniated disc in the low back.
Once the workers' compensation case was resolved, Jill attempted to resolve the claim her client also had against the driver of the other vehicle, who was a veterinarian driving a work vehicle. Jill waited to try to settle the case with the other driver until the worker's compensation case was over, because the law requires that TF repay her employer and worker's compensation carrier back for a portion of the workers' compensation benefits they paid, and the law's formula works better for the injured employee if the workers' compensation case is no longer open.
The offer from the other driver's insurance carrier was far too low, so Jill filed a lawsuit.
Through the course of the lawsuit, Jill thought it was odd that a veterinarian driving for work would have low insurance policy limits, so she worked hard in discovery and learned that there was another insurane policy that covered the veterinarian's employer, increasing the amount of available insurance coverage considerably. However, the veterarian's employer fought the case hard, claiming that they suspected that the veterinarian was not working at the time of the crash and was instead on a personal errand. This is important, because an employer is "vicariously liable," or responsible for the negligent acts of its employees, while in the course and scope of their employment (in other words, while doing their job). If the veterinarian wasn't working, as the employer argued, then the additional insurance coverage that covered the employer would not apply. The veterinarian no longer worked for this employer, and she disagreed with her former employer and insisted that she was traveling on behalf of the employer to visit a sick horse.
Not only was the case fought on the issue of whether the veterinarian was working, both defendants also disputed the extent of TF's injuries. They hired a doctor who said that the elbow surgery wasn't needed and also, that the low back problems are due to degeneration and not the car crash. TF's doctor disagreed and said that the elbow surgery was needed due to the crash, and that her back problems are all from the accident.
Shortly before trial, the insurance company that covered the veterinarian's vehicle paid out its $100,000 policy limits, and shortly thereafter, the employer's insurance carrier settled for another $150,000. TF reimbursed her employer and its workers compensation carrier out of this amount as required by the worker's compensation law and still had a substantial sum of money to set aside for the future.