Recently, I was privileged to represent a 22 year old who was 17 and starting her senior year at Fort Collins High School when she was sandwiched in a 4 vehicle chain collision. Three vehicles were traveling in a left lane. The mini- van in the right lane changed lanes and “cut off” our client, then failed to stop for the vehicle ahead, rear-ending it. The client couldn’t stop in time and rear-ended the mini-van. Then, a fourth vehicle “smashes” into client according to an eyewitness who also saw client violently “jerked back and forth” in crash.
The client went by ambulance to ER with neck pain, knee contusion and cut on forehead. The client was prevented from playing first string varsity softball her senior. She had progressively worsening cervical spasms ultimately resulting in what is known as cervical dystonia (extreme tension in the neck muscles) and post-traumatic cervicogenic and migraine headaches, all interfering with and delaying her college studies.
Please understand that in a jury trial, the fact there is insurance involved is NEVER permitted to be brought out, under any circumstances. The insurance companies like to make the juries think the money is coming out of the pocket of the individual defendant, because juries actually think this may be true (I will NEVER understand why) and it drives down verdict amounts.
The lane changing driver was represented by SAFECO Insurance Company. Even though the Plaintiff had $50,000 in medical bills, SAFECO offered her $1,500! The final rear-end driver was represented by Farmers. They denied liability and claimed Plaintiff was at fault! They offered $15,000.
The Plaintiff will require Botox injection therapy by a neurologist possibly for the rest of her life. Botox relieves 80% of her headache and muscle spasm symptoms, but wears off every three to four months.
The case was tried in Fort Collins, Colorado. The Judge was Julie Field. She is a very good judge. (There are judges who deliberately try to help the insurance companies and hurt plaintiffs who are suing for their damages.)
I asked the 5 woman, 1 man jury for $500,000 for future botox therapy and $300,000 for pain and suffering, lost enjoyment of life, and physical impairment.
Verdict: The jury awarded $500,000 economic, $150,000 non-economic, and $150,000 impairment.
The jury found the lane changer 57% negligent, and the final rear-end driver 36% negligent, and client 7% (which I still don’t understand). With statutory pre-judgment interest, the Plaintiff’s judgment will exceed 1.1 million.
I want everyone to know that auto insurance companies are completely deceiving the public with their advertising. Auto insurance companies in general now follow a business model which couldn’t care less about the rights of individuals who may be injured in a crash. Tell your friends and family that auto insurance companies are lying to us and ripping us off. They are refusing to set fair values on third party claims and forcing innocent injured people to file lawsuits against the other driver.
Tell your friends and legislators that we need new laws to deal with auto crashes and the injuries they cause.