Our Georgia car accident attorneys settled a case for a Gwinnett County woman. The accident caused a herniated disc in her cervical spine. The settlement was for a total of $64,775, representing $50,000 from GEICO, the insurance company for the driver that caused the accident, and $14,775 from Liberty Mutual, our client’s uninsured motorist carrier. Notably, the case was filed in Forsyth County, Georgia. This is a conservative county not known for large jury verdicts or settlements.
Ms. J was driving on McEver Road in Gainesville, Georgia and was driving through its intersection with Browns Bridge Road. A driver traveling the opposite direction didn’t see her and turned left in front of her, crashing into her. Here’s what her car looked like after the accident:
An ambulance took Ms. J to the emergency room. She was initially diagnosed with a strain and sprain of her neck and cervical spine. She continued to experience neck and back pain and went to see an orthopedic surgeon, who ultimately diagnosed her with a cervical herniated disc at C6-7 caused by the wreck. The herniated disc was causing spinal canal stenosis, which is where the herniated disc pushes into and compresses the spinal cord, resulting in severe neck pain that radiated down Ms. J’s arms. After several months of treatment, including physical therapy and epidural injections, she made an excellent recovery. Her medical bills were approximately $20,000.
The main challenge we faced in the case was that it was filed in Forsyth County. Traditionally, Forsyth County is a very conservative county and juries there do not award large jury verdicts. Insurance companies know this and their settlement offers in Forsyth County cases show it. We expected a fight to get a fair settlement offer, and we got one.
Before filing suit, we sent GEICO a settlement demand for its $50,000 policy limits. GEICO rejected the demand and offered $35,000, citing the case being in Forsyth County as one of the reasons for rejecting the demand. We then filed suit and began litigating the case. After six months of litigation, GEICO finally agreed to pay its $50,000 policy limits.
We then sent a settlement demand to Liberty Mutual, Ms. J’s uninsured motorist carrier. Liberty initially offered $2,000, then $5,000, then $12,000, all the while arguing that the case was in Forsyth County and that a jury was not going to award a large verdict in the case.
We had a pre-trial hearing in the case where the judge scheduled the case for trial and ruled, over Liberty’s objection, that we could present medical evidence that the wreck caused Ms. J’s herniated disc. After the hearing, Liberty made a final offer of $14,775, for a total settlement of $64,775. We believed that this offer was close to the top range of jury verdicts that we could reasonably expect in the case, therefore, Ms. J decided to accept the offer.
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