DeKalb County Jury Returns $3.5 Million Verdict in Trucking Accident Lawsuit
Our DeKalb County motor vehicle accident attorneys often hear from crash victims who assume they can proceed without an attorney because liability is fairly clear. However, liability often is much less clear than it might appear at first blush even if an accident report indicates the other driver was at-fault, or the officer issues a traffic citation to the other motorist. While the prospect of an insurance company conceding liability and damages is not unprecedented, it is the exception rather than the rule. Even when an insurer indicates that its policyholder is liable for a loss, the insurer often will dispute the severity of injury and the proper amount of damages. When the insurance carrier tries to lowball the estimated damages associated with a claim, the knowledge, experience and perserverance of your Georgia personal injury attorney can significantly impact the recovery.
The recent $3.5 million DeKalb County jury verdict in favor of a woman whose vehicle was crushed by a produce truck provides a vivid example of an insurance company aggressively disputing damages when liability is reasonably clear. The insurance company emphasized that the woman's only injuries were internal. The lack of any visible injury posed a challenge for the plaintiff in communicating the impact of her traumatic brain injury (TBI) on her life.
The plaintiff was an 18-year-old college student who was on her way to church when she was rear-ended by a produce truck while she was stopped at a red light. According to the lawsuit, the jaws of life were used to extract the plaintiff from her vehicle which crumpled beneath the produce truck. Although the truck driver claimed that he attempted to brake to avoid the collision, the police report indicated a complete absence of skid marks. The truck driver also received a ticket for running a red light.
The insurance company did not contest the liability of its insured, rather the defense argued that the plaintiff was entitled too far more limited damages then the plaintiff requested or the jury awarded. The insurer argued that the plaintiff also had recovered significantly from her injuries. The defense also contested the credibility of testimony of family members regarding their observations of the impact of the accident on the plaintiff. The defense alleged that the family had not had sufficient contact or awareness of the condition of the plaintiff because none of the family members were aware that the plaintiff had been seeing a counselor for nearly a year for insomnia, concentration issues and anxiety.
Evidence regarding the extent of the plaintiff's recovery also was presented to minimize damage. Examples of this evidence included the plaintiff's accomplishments as a student at Georgia State University, resumption of her position as a babysitter and publication of blog posts within days of the accident.
The career goals of the plaintiff also were called in to question as part of the defense's strategy to contest damages. The evidence presented at trial indicated that the plaintiff wanted to be a broadcast journalist, but she was precluded from this career because she suffered hypersensitivity to light. According to the defense, the plaintiff's position prior to trial was that she wanted to be a writer which would not have been as negatively impacted by her injuries.''
Despite these contentions and the lack of visible injury, the jury returned a verdict that was ten time more than the defense indicated was appropriate and 55 times more than the plaintiff's medical expenses. The verdict demonstrates the importance of effective legal representation even when liability is not at issue.
If you have suffered injuries caused by the negligence of another individual, you might have a right to financial compensation. Our attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.