Illinois bicycle crash attorneys at Abels & Annes have filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Chicago teenager that was injured by a negligent driver. This claim arises out of an automobile vs. bicyclist collision which took place on August 22, 2009 at approximately 2:50 p.m. There was plenty of light, the roads were straight and flat and visibility was good.
The plaintiff, a fifteen year old boy, was riding his bicycle westbound along the sidewalk that ran along the north side of 37th Street in Chicago, Illinois. The defendant was driving southbound, exiting an alley. As the motorist drove across the sidewalk, she hit the bicycle rider with the front end of her vehicle.
The Chicago Police Department responded to the accident. The defendant admitted to the investigating police officer that she struck our client with her vehicle as she was exiting the alley.
After being struck the bicyclist flew up onto the driver’s hood, and when the car stopped the teen was thrown off the hood onto the pavement. After landing on the pavement the plaintiff had an immediate onset of pain and discomfort.
The bike rider had back pain, left hand pain, and right foot pain. He was transported to Mount Sinai Hospital‘s Emergency Room by his mother.
At Mount Sinai the teenager complained of back pain. A history was taken, he was examined and diagnostic testing was performed. He was given pain medication and instructed to seek follow up care after a few days.
Over the next couple of days the plaintiff’s condition worsened and he sought follow up treatment at Mount Sinai’s Emergency Department two days later, on August 24, 2009. He continued to complain of severe low back pain. He was again examined and additional diagnostic tests were performed. A possible spinal fracture at L3 was discovered and a neurosurgeon was consulted. He was given more pain medication and muscle relaxants, was instructed to stay out of gym class and was instructed to seek follow up care. He was eventually allowed back into a modified gym class.
On August 25, 2009 our client followed up with a board certified neurologist. He continued to complain of severe low back pain. The doctor ordered a follow up x-ray. On August 27, 2009 he saw another physician and complained of severe back pain. At that time the doctor agreed with the neurologist’s plan of care. Teen was seen by the neuro again on August 31, 2009 at which time he continued to have complaints of back pain. The doctor ordered a CT scan and also recommended that the plaintiff stay home from school due to possible spinal fracture.
On September 8, 2009 a CT scan identified disc bulges at L4-5 and L5-S1 as well as a 3 mm bone island in the CT and a course of physical therapy was prescribed. Following the initial course of therapy he returned to the neurologist on October 5, 2009 with ongoing complaint of back pain radiating into his right thigh. The doctor extended the course of therapy and prescribed muscle relaxants.
Following the second course of therapy the teen returned to the doctor on November 2, 2009 with ongoing low back pain, especially in the morning. The physician explained that recurrence of back pain is a normal part of the healing process. The doctor discharged him as having reached maximum medical improvement.
Unfortunately on December 14, 2009 the plaintiff suffered a severe exacerbation of his back pain when he bent over to pick up a television remote. He went to Mount Sinai’s Emergency Department where he was given pain medications and muscle relaxants and instructed to seek follow up medical care.
On December 18, 2009 he followed up with on of his physicians. He continued to complain of severe low back pain radiating into his thigh. The doctor prescribed another course of physical therapy. Following this course of therapy he returned to the doctor with ongoing low back pain with numbness in his right leg. His doctor suspected a herniated disc at L4-5 and ordered an MRI.
The lumbar MRI performed on January 8, 2010 revealed a 2 mm disc bulge at L3-4, a 4-5 mm disc bulge at L4-5, and a 5 mm disc bulge at L5-S1. Based upon these findings the doctor referred our client to a pain specialist, board certified anesthesiologist and pain management specialist.
The client first saw the specialist on January 28, 2010. He recommended lumbar epidural steroid injections. Due to his mother’s concern regarding this procedure they sought a second opinion from another neurologist with Mount Sinai Medical Group. The second doctor agreed with the first doctor’s plan. The injections were performed on February 4, 2010. Following the initial injection the client had relief for two or three days and then the pain returned, although at a slightly lower level than prior to the injections.
Following the injections both doctors recommended that the continue with physical therapy. The plaintiff continued with therapy at Schwab Rehabilitation Center through the beginning of December, 2010.
Given the plaintiff’s young age the treating physicians are very reluctant to perform any sort of invasive surgical procedure such as a spinal fusion. There are no real treatment options left other than to continue with the home exercise program provided through physical therapy, curtain his physical activities and learn to live with his pain and limitations.
Medical expenses incurred by our client so far total over $50,000.
Despite the treatment he has undergone, the teen continues to suffer from pain and discomfort in his low back. This pain has greatly affected his life. As a result of his injuries he has been unable to engage in many activities he enjoyed prior to the collision, and those activities he can engage in cause him pain and he cannot participate as he did prior to the collision.
It remains painful for him to sit, stand or walk for any length of time. It is painful for him to bend or twist. The teenager was an avid football player and softball player. He dreamed of playing college football. However, since the collision he has been unable to participate in football, softball or any other sports. He was taken out of gym class and when he was returned it was to a specialized gym class.
These restrictions would be traumatic for anyone, but they are especially burdensome for a teenager who should be in the most active and carefree portion of his life. The injuries caused by the negligence of the defendant will continue to trouble the plaintiff for the remainder of his life. He has even been told by his doctors that he will not be able to perform any physical labor which will significantly impact his career options and lifetime wages.