David worked as a delivery driver and was making a delivery in Statesboro, Georgia. He was driving on Highway 73 when a car coming the other direction made an illegal left turn in front of him. David tried to brake but couldn’t stop in time. He crashed into the car, breaking his left wrist. An ambulance took him to the hospital and x-rays showed he had fractures of his ulna and radius bones. Doctors performed surgery, which required fixing the broken bones with surgical screws and a plate. His wrist was in a cast for over a month. He required six months of physical therapy to get the strength and range of motion in his wrist back to where it was before the wreck. His medical bills totaled $28,000. BBGA attorney Michael Ruppersburg settled David’s case for $170,000, which was six times his medical bills.
The driver that caused the wreck had $25,000 in insurance with State Farm. State Farm quickly agreed to pay its $25,000 policy limits.
David was driving a company delivery van that had a significant amount of underinsured motorist coverage, which is insurance for getting in a wreck with someone who doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your injuries. As an employee of the company, David can make a underinsured motorist claim on his company’s insurance policy.
One of the issues we focused on in the case was the effect of the injury on David’s life. He was 51-years-old when the wreck happened. According to mortality tables, he will live, on average, another 25 years. He’ll have the plate and screws in his left wrist the rest of his life. Because of the plate and screws, he’ll develop post-traumatic arthritis in his wrist as he gets older, and will have occasional pain and discomfort. And even though David did well in physical therapy and made a good recovery, his injury limits his range of motion in his wrist and it tires easily when he’s working.
Before the case went to trial, the uninsured motorist insurance company agreed to pay $145,000 to settle David’s case, making for a combined settlement of $170,000.
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