Defendant crossed over several lanes of interstate traffic and struck my client's vehicle, causing it to roll over four (4) times. After multiple surgeries to her dominant hand, my client has over $600,000 in medical bills and lost her job. The at-fault driver claims one of the tires suddenly blew out causing her to lose control. The at-fault driver carried only $25,000 of applicable insurance. Since there were no assets over insurance limits, my client offered to settle with the at-fault driver for her $25,000 of insurance, despite the largely inadequate recovery for her injuries. However, the at-fault driver's insurance company ignored essential terms of my client's offer to settle and decided they would call the shots and do it their way.
What Is The Law In Georiga?
Under Georgia law, when an insurer fails to properly pay policy limits on a claim that is clearly worth more than policy limits, claims for bad faith can arise. If bad faith can be proven, it can mean that an entire verdict will get paid by the at-fault driver's insurance regardless of the insurance limits. Here, it could mean s fair recovery for my client's injuries. Since the at-fault driver's insurance company decided they wanted to dictate the terms of settlement, we rejected their offer and filed suit. It was funny that, after their initial attempt to control the settlement, a claims adjuster and her manager showed up personally at my office to try to deliver a $25,000 check. It was rejected, again.
When we were hired about three (3) weeks after the wreck, we immediately notified the at-fault driver and her insurance company that the car and its tires must be preserved. Despite several subsequent letters again telling them to preserve the car and its tires, the at-fault driver's insurance company gave orders to the storage facility to get rid of the car. And that is what happened. The most important piece of evidence was destroyed before anyone could have an expert do proper testing on the tire to determine the real cause of its failure. Driver error and poor maintenance, both of which are the driver's fault, not just manufacturing defects, cause tire failure.
Fighting Insurance Companies
The insurance company took away the only opportunity for us to defend against their unfounded argument that the tire was just defective. They claim the destruction of evidence was inadvertent. We were not so sure, so we filed a motion asking the judge to punish them for their actions. The judge agreed that the other side was on proper notice to preserve the car, but that they failed to do so; they destroyed material evidence. Therefore, the judge will not allow them to argue that a tire defect caused the wreck, essentially stripping them of their case because they tried to strip my client of her case.
Compensation You Deserve
If this case doesn't settle prior to court, we will be asking a jury for an amount that well, will make the at-fault driver's insurance company wish they would have settled.
It is tenacious dedication that wins car accident cases. It is tenacious dedication that teaches insurance companies they cannot squeeze out the little guy. If later confidentiality doesn't prohibit it, I will update this post to let everyone know the final outcome.