The recent settlement in a 2021 rear-end car collision that injured a man’s back offers a perfect example of why victims need an advocate – like the Trial Team of Stewart Melvin & Frost — fighting on their behalf.
The accident happened in December 2018, when the truck of a 63-year-old male driver from Lula, Ga., was hit from behind on Hwy. 365 near Lanier Technical College in the North Hall County area. The violent collision caused the man’s truck to cross four lanes of traffic and flip over, injuring his shoulder blade and back.
The at-fault person’s insurance coverage was limited in the case. Given the victim’s medical expenses and lost wages, the at-fault party’s insurance company did not come close to compensating for the victim’s injuries. His back injury continued to cause the victim significant pain and limited his mobility. Despite this, when the victim went to his own insurance company, Liberty Mutual, to request it pay its policy limits, Liberty Mutual offered a nominal amount. Even more insulting, Liberty Mutual denied that the horrifying wreck caused the victim’s back and shoulder injuries but offered no explanation for what did.
“Our client suffered a permanent back injury, was in the hospital for a week following the wreck, continued to treat over the next year and was out of work for over 100 days,” said Andrew Gould of the Stewart Melvin & Frost Trial Team. “So, it was sad to see his own insurance company act that way.”
Without a lawyer by his side, Liberty Mutual may have seized upon the victim’s lack of knowledge or unwillingness to push back against them. Fortunately, with its experience and the deep resources of a larger regional firm, the Trial Team fought back hard. For example, when Liberty Mutual thought it could buck the law and participate in the case however it deemed appropriate, The Trial Team filed a motion with the court that ultimately led to sanctions being leveled against Liberty Mutual for its conduct.
This accountability grabbed Liberty Mutual’s attention. Then, on the eve of a scheduled trial, Liberty Mutual finally conceded, settling the case by agreeing to pay its policy limits, resulting in a total settlement of $200,000.
“It really was disappointing that our client’s insurance company would treat its own customer like this,” said Gould. “Our client’s injuries, and the fallout caused by those injuries, far exceeded the available insurance amounts in this case, which made Liberty Mutual’s decision to drag our client through this process all the more disappointing.”
Gould said the case demonstrates why car accident victims need a personal injury attorney to help them navigate legal intricacies and insurance company’s tactics – and, most of all, to help them stand up for what is just and fair.
“Unfortunately, we are seeing insurance companies operate like this more and more often, and when they do, it requires considerable time, energy and resources to fight back,” Gould said. “But, when you have a client like we did here, a salt of the earth, hard-working individual whose life was upended in a split second through no fault of his own, it is a reminder of why we always do whatever it takes to make sure we achieve justice and full accountability.