Jury’s Verdict Results In No UM Exposure For Rice’s Client
On November 30, 2023, following a three (3) day trial, a Fulton County jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff of just $17,315. This amount was well below the $152,000 in past medical bills and $97,000 surgical estimate the plaintiff presented. The case resulted from a 2019 car accident involving a moderate rear-end impact with airbag deployment. The named defendant admitted fault but disputed that the accident caused the extent of injuries the plaintiff claimed, including herniated cervical discs and a torn rotator cuff. Ms. Rice’s client elected to defend as the named defendant at trial. Ms. Rice successfully impeached the plaintiff on cross-examination as to statements made at deposition and in her medical records that showed her claims of severe injury had been greatly exaggerated. Ms. Rice also introduced images and videos plaintiff had posted to her social media account showing that she continued to engage in her usual daily activities after the accident. In closing argument, Ms. Rice asked the jury to award an amount that would compensate plaintiff for the early days of her treatment. The plaintiff introduced testimony from eight (8) witnesses and asked the jury to award over $2,000,000 in damages. The named defendant’s pre-suit offer was $20,000. The jury’s verdict will result in no exposure for Ms. Rice’s client
Clayton County Jury Awards Less than Pretrial Offer
After a two (2) day trial, Justin Sanders convinced a Clayton County jury to award plaintiff less than our pretrial offer. This was an admitted fault case. Plaintiff had $29,000 in bills for soft tissues injuries just prior to a subsequent accident. Plaintiff attempted to claim that she had a broken foot, however, Mr. Sanders was able to prove that records from the emergency room showed that she had no fractures. An MRI also confirmed plaintiff had no fractures. The court improperly excluded the defense expert the morning of trial. At closing, plaintiff’s counsel asked a jury to award $500,000, which included $500 an hour for pain and suffering. The defendant’s $25,000 liability limits had been tendered for a limited liability release. There was an additional $100,000 in UM coverage. Prior to trial, the UM carrier last offered $25,000. Mr. Sanders asked the jury to award what was reasonable, between $45,000 and $50,000. The jury awarded plaintiff $40,000 which means that the UM carrier will only have to pay $15,000.
Harbin Obtains Defense Verdict in Wrist Surgery Case
Ben Harbin obtained a defense verdict in Gwinnett County. This was an admitted fault case where plaintiff alleged $107,000 in medical expenses that included a wrist surgery. Mr. Harbin represented the UM carrier and was the sole and lead counsel at trial for the defense. The liability carrier had already tendered the defendant’s $25,000 liability limits for a limited liability release. Plaintiff had expert testimony linking the wrist surgery to the accident. Mr. Harbin was able to impeach the plaintiff regarding a subsequent accident, a prior wrist injury, and plaintiff’s memory of the position of his wrist during the accident. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff of $20,000. This was was less than liability limits paid, meaning the UM carrier paid nothing. Plaintiff’s lowest demand was $200,000.
Svoboda and O’Malley Secure Defense Verdict in DeKalb County
Attorneys Alexandra Svoboda and Jacob O’Malley secured a defense verdict in DeKalb County following a three-day trial on October 24, 2023. The case involved a 2018 automobile accident where Defendant admitted to negligence after rear ending plaintiff’s vehicle. Plaintiff alleged injuries to her head, neck, right shoulder, bilateral hips, and knees. She incurred $68,000.000 worth of past medical specials, and presented a life care planner estimate for a rotator cuff surgery in the amount of $71,000.00. She admitted to a 2017 collision after which she treated at all of the same providers and hired the same attorney as in the present case. Plaintiff submitted into evidence medical records, vehicle photos, the police report, the surgery estimate, and the 1946 actuarial table. Plaintiff also called a biomechanic expert and plaintiff’s treating orthopedist. The defense was able to impeach and discredit Plaintiff on not only her injuries, but how the collision occurred (plaintiff just refused to agree to a straight-forward rear-end collision). Plaintiff asked for an award of $1M. Ms. Svoboda argued to the jury that they should award something more reasonable, such as plaintiff’s emergency room bill, some soft tissue care, and some pain and suffering to account for that care. After about 45 minutes of deliberation, the jury returned a defense verdict. Before trial, Plaintiff’s last demand was for $200,000.00, The offer in response was $20,000, in the form of a statutory offer of judgment.
Morgan McGee and Brooke Ray Co-Author Article on UM Coverage for the GDLA Magazine
A link to the article can be found by clicking: GDLA article
Stahl Obtains Favorable Verdict in Forsyth County
Ben Stahl obtained a favorable verdict in Forsyth County following a one-day trial on October 2, 2023. The case involved a 2018 automobile accident where Defendant admitted to negligence after rear ending plaintiff’s vehicle. Plaintiff alleged injuries to his lower back. Plaintiff’s treatment included chiropractic therapy for his lower back and one epidural steroid injection. Plaintiff’s medical expenses amounted to $16,000.33. However, just two months before this accident, Plaintiff had been treating for identical injuries from a prior accident. Plaintiff submitted into evidence only the photographs of the accident, records from the chiropractor and the bill for the injection. The defense was able to impeach and discredit Plaintiff using deposition testimony and refreshing his recollection of the prior similar accidents and identical claims of injury. The defense was also able to exclude causation narratives contained within Plaintiff’s chiropractor records. Plaintiff asked for an award of medical specials plus an additional $40,000 for pain and suffering. Before trial, Plaintiff’s last demand was for about $32,000, while the last offer was $16,000. After about two hours of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict for $16,000.33.
Cobb Jury Finds for Defendant, Refuses to Award $727,000
On August 25, 2023, a Cobb Superior Court jury returned a verdict in favor of Ashley Rice’s client after four (4) days of trial. The lawsuit involved an admitted fault 2019 rear-end accident that resulted in very little property damage to the vehicles. Plaintiff reported no injury at the scene and proceeded to complete a full day of work at his physically demanding job. He admitted to a prior lumbar fusion over twenty (20) years earlier but denied any significant lower back problems since that time. Nine (9) days after the accident, plaintiff began treating for lower back pain that was shooting into his legs. He underwent months of physical therapy and epidural steroid injections before undergoing an adjacent fusion surgery to L4-5. Plaintiff presented $305,000 in medical bills and sought over $40,000 in lost wages. Ms. Rice argued that plaintiff had not been honest about his pre-accident lower back pain and treatment in the years since his initial fusion surgery and that the charges for the healthcare services he received were far in excess of their reasonable value. Both parties presented testimony of multiple experts on the disputed issues of causation and damages. Plaintiff had declined a $50,000 offer of settlement pre-trial and requested the jury award $727,000.
Defense Verdict in Rabun County
On August 23, 2023, Kevin Reardon and Andrew Panella obtained a defense verdict in the Superior Court of Rabun County for their client who admitted fault for causing the accident. On the day of the accident, plaintiff treated at the ER and was then transported to another medical center for surgery to repair an aortic tear allegedly caused by the accident. At trial, plaintiff asserted injuries to his heart as well as life altering depression. Asserted medical specials were $370,000, all for treatment within three (3) days of the accident. Plaintiff’s counsel asked for a jury award of all of plaintiff’s medical specials as well as an award for general damages. On cross-examination at trial, defense counsel successfully impeached plaintiff numerous times by effectively utilizing plaintiff’s prior deposition testimony and pre-accident medical records. Further, the defense focused on the insufficiency of medical evidence presented by plaintiff to meet the burden of proof as to causation of his asserted injuries. After deliberating for forty (40) minutes, the jury returned a verdict in favor of defendant.
Defense Verdict Issued in Cobb County
Justin Sanders obtained a defense verdict in Cobb County following a one-day trial on August 21, 2023. The case involved a 2018 automobile accident where the defendant admitted to negligence after rear ending plaintiff’s vehicle. Plaintiff alleged injuries to his neck and back; however, his most significant injury was to his left pinky. Plaintiff was a professional musician. Plaintiff’s treatment included chiropractic therapy for his neck and back, physical therapy for his left pinky, and a cortisone injection for the left pinky following an MRI. Plaintiff’s medical expenses amounted to just over 22,000. Plaintiff submitted to the jury two medical narratives, one from the chiropractor and one from his orthopedic doctor, relating the injuries to the accident. The defense introduced pictures of the vehicles, showing minor damage, and crossed plaintiff on the mechanism of his finger injury. Plaintiff was also impeached with his prior deposition testimony after failing to recall he was diagnosed with gout prior to the accident. As for the medical narratives, the defense argued the opinions were solely based on what plaintiff told his providers. Plaintiff asked for an award that would be fair and reasonable with a suggestion of four times his medical expenses. After an hour of deliberations, the jury returned a defense verdict.
Harbin Obtains Verdict of ER Bills Only
Ben Harbin obtained a favorable result in Jackson County. After a 2 days trial, a jury awarded the ER bill only ($1,809) to plaintiff. This was an admitted fault case with minimal damage. Plaintiff had around $34,000 in medical bills. Plaintiff had his doctor testify via video deposition about plaintiff’s soft tissue injuries and need for injections. Plaintiff asked the jury for $95,000. This was a situation where the jury was hung for most of deliberations with one person who was a holdout. The judge dismissed the holdout juror (who happened to be the foreperson) by consent of plaintiff and plaintiff’s counsel and the jury then returned a favorable verdict within 15 minutes. Plaintiff last demanded the medical specials and the last pre-trial offer was $12,000.