Lawsuit Claims Paralysis Caused by
Denial of Claim
May 15, 2007
A 39-year-old Washington woman paralyzed from injuries caused in a car crash sued her insurer
for denying coverage for surgery doctors agree could have prevented her paralysis.
Tara Sadler, a Yakima, Wash., resident and mother of two boys, filed the suit against State Farm
Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., claiming the insurer denied her neurosurgeon's decision to
repair a severe neck injury caused in an auto accident on Feb. 29, 2004.
The complaint alleges State Farm denied Sadler's personal injury protection (PIP) claim to
maximize its profits. By the time the insurance company approved Sadler's claim, Sadler was
"This is the worst case of PIP insurance abuse I have ever seen," said Karen Koehler, an
attorney with the law firm Stritmatter Kessler representing the Sadlers. "We have letters from
Sadler's doctors that confirm State Farm's delay of the surgery is the reason for her paralysis."
According to law firm, the day of the accident, Tara Sadler and her husband Donald Sadler, were
driving their 1999 Volkswagen Beetle on North First Street in Yakima. Another vehicle improperly
crossed several lanes of traffic while fleeing from the police. Donald Sadler, the driver, slammed
the car's breaks to avoid a collision. Tara Sadler, sitting in the passenger seat and wearing her
seat belt, was thrown forward as the car came to a sudden stop.
After the accident, Sadler had neck and shoulder pain on the right side and arm numbness with
tingling and loss of use. She saw her family physician, who ordered physical therapy for eight
weeks, the law firm said. According to the complaint, in the days and weeks following the
accident, Sadler's condition worsened.
Sadler decided to see a chiropractor in Yakima who stopped the physical therapy, reviewed X-
rays, and made arrangements for an MRI on her neck. The MRI indicated a significant disc
protrusion in her neck with spinal cord compression and her chiropractor direct