The Trial Team at Stewart Melvin & Frost recently resolved a difficult personal injury case that brought their client 10 times more than initial settlement expectations. Their highly successful settlement offers clear confirmation of the Trial Team’s deliberate and “uncommon” approach in limiting its carefully selected caseload – matched with an attitude of hard work, persistence, and unflagging determination against all odds.
The case involved a tragic drunk driving accident that occurred back in 2019 on Thompson Bridge Road in Hall County, Ga. A multiple-DUI offender drove her Cadillac Escalade head-on into the car of a 50-year-old man, who nearly died. He suffered multiple fractures to his legs and arm, requiring several surgeries.
Unfortunately, the intoxicated driver, a 32-year-old female with a long history of DUI convictions, wrecks, and arrests, only had the minimum limits of liability insurance coverage.
Led by attorneys Andrew Gould and Mark Alexander, the Trial Team uncovered additional insurance coverage and other financial resources in their pursuit of justice for their client.
While limitations in the initial insurance coverage stop many firms from pursuing a case further, the Trial Team went to work. Through deeper investigation, Gould and Alexander learned the defendant’s father recently purchased the Cadillac for his adult daughter after she totaled her father’s car in another wreck just days earlier. The father bought his daughter the Cadillac despite knowing his daughter had a string of DUI convictions and was addicted to and using drugs and alcohol at the time.
The SMF Trial Team believed the father should also be held accountable for his reckless purchase of the Cadillac in the face of the known, ongoing danger his daughter posed to others. In addition to bringing an action against the daughter, the Trial Team filed a lawsuit against the father – a novel and innovative legal approach under Georgia law. The effort was met with tremendous resistance from the father, who showed little remorse for his or his daughter’s actions. He had no interest in resolving the litigation. A high-powered Atlanta law firm represented the father and fought back hard, adamantly claiming that the legal claims against the father were baseless and would go nowhere.
All along, the Trial Team believed the tragic case merited far more than anyone was initially willing to pay. Gould and Alexander were relentless in their pursuit of funds to compensate their client for what the defendants did. Their tenacity paid off when Gould and Alexander uncovered that the daughter as well as her father were the beneficiaries of a large estate. To obtain the justice their client deserved, the Trial Team dug in for a long fight in pursuit of a jury trial.
After three years of pressing and relentless discovery, the Trial Team eventually won out in the summer of 2022, securing a settlement of nearly $1 million for their client. Though the sum was not nearly large enough to erase their client’s pain and suffering, it was significantly more than the initial, limited insurance coverage.
“At the outset, we were told a successful resolution of this case was futile,” said Gould. “We were told our client should just take the $75,000 and move on. While we recognized the odds were against our client, we took the same approach that we do for all our clients. We turned over every leaf and looked under every rock. We vigorously pursued innovative and creative claims that resulted in a monumental and satisfying settlement for our client.”