A YouTube clip went viral last week of three men in Utah’s Goblin Valley State Park toppling over an ancient “goblin” sandstone rock formation that they considered it a safety hazard, then laughing and high-fiving afterward. It might seem surprising that the one who gave the shove, Glenn Taylor, was up for such vigorous activities, since he suffered what were described as “debilitating” back injuries (according to his legal claims) in a road accident four years ago. According to the father of the defendant in that still-unresolved case, neither Taylor nor others involved visited the hospital after that rear-ending. “Taylor’s attorney Mark Stubbs says just because his client is beginning to recover from his injured back doesn’t mean he hasn’t suffered from pain in the past, and he says Taylor’s medical bills in the wake of the accident could continue for years.” [CNN, NYDN, KUTV (auto-plays video)] More: NY Post. More: Lenore Skenazy (but it’s to make kids safer!).
Commenter “Anonymous Attorney” writes:
Part of the litigation explosion includes every other person with a back injury claim being sent for invasive “fusion” or other drastic spinal surgery. Of course, defendants, often through insurance, foot the bill for these very expensive procedures. In my time I saw dozens of cases involving, say, a 5-mph fender bender that resulted in these surgeries. It was almost as if plaintiff attorneys and doctors worked together to push them through because they would multiply damages 5-fold for the lawyer, and of course the doctor gets paid handsomely, too. The cost of some surgeries can approach $100,000. A few doctors were known for never seeing a patient who didn’t “need” these surgeries. Courts and juries, of course, take anything a doctor says on its face, and so they’d go along.
A study in JAMA now confirms these are grossly overprescribed and often a really bad idea, medically. Note that this particular study excluded patients admitted as a result of vehicle crashes or with vertebral fractures or dislocations, which nonetheless leaves many other injuries that can fit the pattern: slip-falls, workers comp back strains and so on. I think it’s safe to say that if the JAMA authors ever do a study looking at car crash plaintiffs, they’ll make similar findings.
By the way, the New York Times actually beat JAMA to the punch on some of this, like the doctors owning financial stakes in the surgical equipment companies.
After your low-speed accident outside New York City’s Port Authority, you suspect there’s something a tad suspicious about the resulting $15 million neck-and-back-injury claim against you by the occupant of the limo you hit, a man named Marcus Schrenker. And then one day he turns up on all the front pages…