While the personal injury lawyers at Goldberg Finnegan obtain some very large verdicts on behalf of their injured clients, on a day to day basis, we take pride in even some of the smaller verdicts where we just absolutely crush the insurance company’s last offer. A perfect example of this is the jury trial that Goldberg Finnegan Attorney Curtis Cannon had this week in Prince George’s County Circuit Court.
The Defendant struck our client from behind at 30 mph while she was at a complete stop in traffic. Our client sustained myofascial connective tissue injuries to her neck and low back as well as wrist sprains. She had roughly 10 weeks of physical therapy treatments and missed 5 weeks of work incurring $5,300.00 in medical bills and $5,800.00 in lost wages. The Defendants car was totaled with severe property damage.
However, because he had a car lower to the ground than our client’s car, our client’s car showed little damage. In a sneaky maneuver, the insurance company for the Defendant took pictures of our client’s car but never took any pictures of the Defendant’s car and both cars were repaired and/or discarded prior to our representation of the client. The Defendant’s insurance company (State Farm) offered just $2,000.00 to settle the case claiming this was a “minor impact” collision based on the photos to our client’s car. We filed suit in District Court seeking a bench trial (a judge before a judge rather than a jury).
State Farm, in a tactic they use to increase the costs of litigation for injured victims, demanded a jury trial and the case was removed to the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County Maryland. Discovery revealed the Defendant was on a cell phone and reaching on the floor to pick up an ID badge prior to the collision which is the reason he slammed into our client’s car at 30 mph.
Despite this, the insurance company refused to admit liability for the accident, claiming the Plaintiff “cut off” the Defendant and was contributory negligent. It was not until the day before trial did the defense admit liability. In addition, they paid a defense medical examiner (DME) to provide opinions that the Plaintiff’s medical care was not reasonable or necessary as a result of the collision (this State Farm doctor never even examined our client).
We were able to achieve a significant victory prior to trial in which the Judge cut out more than half of the defense medical expert’s report as irrelevant, not supported by the facts, and not having the proper legal foundation. This significantly weakened the Defense’s arguments. Despite the Defense attacking the Plaintiff’s credibility and accusing her of faking her injuries for monetary gain, the jury awarded our client $15,000.00.
While not a million dollar judgment, the result was 7.5 times the only settlement offer in the case and illustrates the need to have an attorney as soon as possible in the case so key evidence is not lost.
If you are injured in a car accident in Maryland and the insurance company makes a low ball offer, don’t be tempted to accept it. Hire an auto accident lawyer at a law firm that has a reputation for going to trial.