Back in October 2016, our client, Sandra, was driving to work on Moreland Avenue when a car pulled out from a side street and crashed into the passenger’s side of her SUV. Sandra’s airbag deployed, busting her lip. She had a family member drive her to the emergency room at DeKalb Medical Center, where she was checked out, given pain medication, and sent home to rest.
When Sandra’s neck, back, and left knee continued to hurt, she went to see a chiropractor three weeks after the wreck. A month of chiropractic treatment failed to relieve her symptoms the chiropractor referred her to an orthopedic doctor. A physical exam and MRIs led the orthopedic doctor to conclude that Sandra was having pain in her facet joints in her spine. To treat her symptoms, he performed a three-level facet injection in her lumbar spine.
The facet injection provided Sandra with a lot of relief but it failed to completely resolve all her problems. She continued to experience left knee pain as well, with lingering discomfort in her neck and back. Her chiropractor did adjustments to her spine and had a physical therapist on staff help with her back pain and left knee problems.
By the time Sandra finished treatment, she had gone to a total of 41 visits at the chiropractor, in addition to the office visits with the orthopedic doctor and the facet injection. Her total medical bills were approximately $37,000 for all of her treatment. She had also missed work the day of the wreck, which was a Friday, but had been able to return on Monday.
The driver who crashed into Sandra had $100,000 in liability insurance with Allstate. When we demanded the full policy limits, Allstate responded with an offer of $14,500 less than half her bills.
As a result of the low offer, The Champion Firm filed a lawsuit against the driver in the State Court of DeKalb County. While the lawsuit was pending, attorney Morgyn Graber sent an Offer of Settlement to Allstate, requesting Allstate pay Sandra’s attorney’s fees and case expenses if we got 125% of the amount demanded. Allstate declined the Offer of Settlement. The most they ever offered was $19,000.
The case ultimately went to trial in August 2019 with Darl Champion serving as lead counsel and Morgyn Graber serving as second-chair. After a two-day trial that involved the testimony of Sandra, a family member, a friend and the orthopedic doctor, a DeKalb County jury returned a verdict for $322,000. This was nearly 17 times more than the defense’s highest offer and $222,000 above the policy limits.
Because Allstate turned down the policy limits offer, and because we were able to get a verdict far above our Offer of Settlement, Allstate ultimately agreed to pay $350,000 after the verdict was rendered.
This case demonstrates the importance of having a personal injury attorney on your side who knows the true value of your damages and is not afraid to fight the insurance companies.