Hasty Pope Earns $400,000 Verdict for Client in Underinsured Motorist Case
GAINESVILLE, Ga. (Jan. 17, 2014) – Hasty Pope attorneys Jonathan Pope and Dustin Davies won a $400,000 jury verdict in Cobb County State Court against State Farm Insurance Company on Dec. 12.
Hasty Pope’s client filed suit against State Farm after the insurance company denied her claim on her underinsured motorist coverage.
“Georgia law requires that everybody who drives an automobile have insurance on that automobile, but there are still people driving around without insurance or without enough insurance,” Pope said. “If those people make a serious mistake that hurts someone, their insurance is usually not enough to make up for the harm they have caused. That’s where uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance coverage steps in.”
The firm’s client, a 28-year-old woman, was driving on I-575 North near Chastain Road in Cobb County when she was struck from behind at a high rate of speed. She suffered a herniated disc, which required surgery to repair. The client could not afford the more than $50,000 cost for the surgery.
“Like many people, our client was responsible and purchased underinsured motorist coverage with her own automobile insurance company State Farm,” Pope said. “Our client had been a loyal customer for 16 years with State Farm with no prior claims against her policy.”
The other driver’s automobile insurance was insufficient to cover the client’s medical expenses of $42,000. Since the other driver was underinsured, the client made her first ever claim against her own underinsured motorist coverage. State Farm denied the claim and argued that Hasty Pope’s client was not injured from the collision but instead that her injuries existed prior to the collision. State Farm even hired its own expert radiologist who testified the client’s injuries were not caused by the collision.
During cross examination of the witness, Pope and Davies were able to show that State Farm’s expert had been paid more than $2.3 million by insurance companies, lawyers for insurance companies or defendants in personal injury cases. State Farm had paid the expert more than $750,000 to perform medical-legal case reviews for the company.
On the eve of the trial, State Farm made a top offer of $50,000 to settle the case, and Hasty Pope’s client declined. On Dec. 12, the Cobb County jury returned a verdict of $400,000.
“This just shows how important uninsured and underinsured coverage on an automobile policy is,” Pope said. “With the new year, it’s a good time to review your policy and pick up, or bump up, this coverage.”
With offices in Gainesville, Canton and Atlanta, Hasty Pope LLP exclusively handles all types of personal injury and workers’ compensation cases, including automobile and truck collisions, wrongful death, construction accidents, and traumatic brain injury. For more information, call 770-479-0366 or visit www.hastypope.com.
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