Georgia Jury Holds State Farm Accountable for Bad Faith Settlement

state farm rear end accidentIt’s a nightmare scenario for any driver. First, you get rear-ended and sustain serious injuries. Then the other driver’s insurance refuses to make a reasonable offer to help cover medical expenses. You, the victim, are stuck with physical pain, medical bills, and legal woes.   Kenneth Cox, a 50 year old Georgia man, found himself in just such a situation. After being struck while driving State Farm did their best to cut compensation down to bare bones minimum, leaving Cox with a stack of bills. Luckily Cox had the wherewithal to secure legal counsel and pursue the matter further.   As reported by National Trial Lawyers:  

“Cox was on a state road, turning into a driveway, when the other driver slammed into the back of his car. The driver who caused the crash is insured by State Farm.

Legal News, the National Trial Lawyers, NTL“Before he came to us, our client’s doctors told us he needed to have surgery on his back,” said the plaintiff’s trial lawyer and Shiver Hamilton partner Alan J. Hamilton. “State Farm was given an opportunity to settle the claim for policy limits – which were less than half of the projected medical and surgical costs. Yet the insurance company declined the opportunity to settle, insisting that the injuries were not related to the wreck but were instead a ‘pre-existing condition.’”

  Cox’s attorney pursued the case and insisted that the kinds of injury sustained by the client were clearly from impact and not from long term degradation. Thankfully medical science had made enough advances to prove the difference between different kinds of spinal injuries and the evidence was compelling enough to convince the jury. The results were as follows:  

“The insurance company ultimately never changed its evaluation of the case, and offered only $35,000 to settle. The jury awarded 40 times that amount after trial. The verdict is believed to be a record for cases of this type in Henry County. On top of that, because of a pretrial ‘offer of settlement’ made by the Plaintiff’s team, the Court also awarded over $500,000 in attorney fees against State Farm.

‘It is both important and satisfying to hold insurance companies accountable to value cases fairly,’ added Hamilton.”

  It’s no secret that insurance companies are in business to make money and part of that process is reducing their payouts. Nevertheless, many large insurance conglomerates have made it a habit of using their bottomless bank accounts and legal influence to take advantage of intimidated clients. In this case, the jury saw the behavior by the insurance company and took action against it. Hopefully this sets a legal precedent for other courts to follow and convinces insurance companies to play fair by impacting their pocketbook.

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