Joel was driving home from work on Highway 13 in Gainesville, Ga. A landscaping truck pulling a Bobcat was driving the opposite direction. The driver didn’t see Joel and made a left turn in front of him. Joel braked, but couldn’t stop in time. His car crashed into the trailer carrying the Bobcat. Joel suffered a herniated disc and a concussion in the wreck. We secured a $90,000 settlement from Hanover Insurance for Joel. The settlement was three times his medical bills, which were $30,000. The result is notable because the case was filed in Hall County, Ga., which is a conservative county with juries that do not award large verdicts and settlements.
The police gave the other driver a ticket for failure to yield while turning left. The driver paid the ticket, which is a legal admission he was at fault for the wreck. The driver and his insurance company admitted they were at fault for the wreck, so the only issue was fair compensation for Joel’s injuries.
The force of the wreck made Joel’s head snap forward and strike the airbag. He lost consciousness and came to – dazed and disoriented. EMS transported him from the wreck to Northeast Georgia Medical Center. Doctors diagnosed him with a concussion and strains and sprains of his neck and back. They instructed him to follow up with a neurologist and an orthopedist.
Joel saw a neurologist who confirmed he had a concussion. For the next several months, Joel had problems with his memory. He kept forgetting simple everyday tasks and had trouble finding the right words to use in conversations. The neurologist ordered cognitive therapy and prescribed medication for the concussion. With the therapy and medication, Joel’s concussion symptoms slowly went away over the next year.
Joel also saw an orthopedist for his neck and back injuries. The doctor prescribed him pain medication and ordered physical therapy. Joel’s back pain eventually went away, but he kept having neck pain. The doctor ordered an MRI of his neck, which showed Joel had a herniated disc at the C5-6 level of his cervical spine. The doctor recommended that Joel have three epidural steroid injections in his neck to help with the pain. Joel dislikes needles and worried about the procedure, eventually deciding not to have the injections. He continued with physical therapy and over time, his herniated disc healed and his pain went away.
We initially tried to resolve the case without filing a lawsuit. The insurance company made a settlement offer of $65,000, which Joel and I felt did not adequately compensate him. I filed the lawsuit and several months before trial, the insurance company increased its settlement offer to $90,000. Joel believed the settlement offer was fair and decided to accept it instead of taking the case to trial.