How a Whiplash Injury Became a Much Larger Case

Thinking Big: Attorney Cassandra Kazukenus explains how what initially seemed like a simple whiplash injury significantly impacted the life of a client and turned into a six-figure settlement case.

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I recently handled a car crash case, a relatively light impact, where the woman complained about, you know, whiplash to her neck, which was the initial diagnosis. And things continued to progress. She continued to have a lot of pain. Eventually, the doctors performed a procedure called a RFA or radio frequency nerve ablation. In the simplest of terms, it’s where they burn the nerves to stop the pain receptors, but that comes back because nerves regenerate or grow back together. So, oftentimes only temporary relief.

Ultimately after years of this, she had what was called a spinal cord stimulator implanted. In order to have a spinal cord stimulator implanted, you have to go through a psychological test first, because they have to determine whether you are a candidate for it because of the impacts of pain every day in your life. And then they do what’s called a trial stimulator, where they basically put a battery on the outside of your body, and they run leads into your spinal column in order to see whether you are responding well to basically them shocking the nerves and trying to trick them into not having pain.

If you have a good successful trial, it’s usually three days, sometimes five days. They’ll place what’s called a permanent spinal cord stimulator, she had one placed. They actually go in and place a battery about this size into your back, sometimes in some people, you can see the battery pack. And they basically take leads, and they put them in your spinal column to trick the nerves. The battery actually has to be replaced every eight to 10 years, or six to 10 years, depending on how things go. So, it’s a more permanent solution than the RFA procedure, but it still requires maintenance throughout the life that you have it. So, again, it turned into a relatively high figure case in the mid-six figures because of that permanency and continued maintenance.

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