Earlier this month, a federal court of appeals issued a written opinion stemming from a disagreement between an accident victim and his insurance company. In the lawsuit, Etherton v. Owners Insurance Company, the plaintiff ended up with more than he originally asked for because the jury determined that the insurance company should be held for the plaintiff’s injuries as well as for failing to pay out on the plaintiff’s claim in a timely manner.
The plaintiff, Etherton, was involved in an accident with another driver. The accident did not cause a lot of property damage, but Etherton required three back surgeries as a result of the injuries he sustained in the accident.
He filed a claim with both the other driver’s insurance and his own insurance company, Owners. The other driver’s policy limit was lower than the amount necessary to cover his injuries, which he estimated to be about $1,000,000. Etherton settled with the other driver’s insurance company for $250,000 and then asked his own insurance company to make up the difference.
Etherton and Owners were in discussions for several months before Owners offered to settle the claim for $150,000. Etherton, not satisfied with this settlement amount, asked Owners why the offer was so low, and the company responded that it had doubts about whether the accident in which he was involved was the actual cause of his back injuries. After several more months of failed negotiations, Etherton filed a lawsuit against his own insurance company, seeking fair compensation for his injuries.
At trial, Etherton was successful, and the jury returned a verdict in his favor for $2.25 million. The award was comprised of $750,000, which was the remainder of the policy limit, as well as $1.5 million for Owners’ failure in settling Etherton’s valid claim. Owners filed an appeal based on several evidentiary issues, but in the end the appellate court hearing the case upheld the jury’s verdict. As a result, Etherton will be entitled to the full $2.25 million award handed down by the jury.
Dealing with Insurance Companies after Georgia Car Accidents
Insurance companies are supposed to be there to help accident victims recover after being involved in a serious accident. However, all too often, insurance companies are motivated not by what is right but by what is best for their bottom line. In many cases, insurance companies will try and take advantage of unrepresented accident victims by offering them low-ball offers in hopes of avoiding a substantial jury verdict.
Have You Been Injured in a Georgia Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in any kind of Georgia car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through your own or another driver’s insurance company. However, as the case discussed above shows, dealing with insurance companies can be frustrating to say the least. The skilled attorneys at Miller Legal Services have years of experience representing their clients in negotiations with insurance companies, and they are not afraid to take a case to trial if necessary. Call 770-284-3727 today to set up a free consultation with a dedicated Georgia personal injury attorney.
More Blog Posts:
Photographic Evidence of Uneven Sidewalk Taken 30 Days after Injury Deemed Insufficient to Raise Question of Liability, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, August 4, 2016.
Lawsuit Stemming from Unsafe Fence Dismissed Based on Plaintiff’s Failure to Submit Necessary Evidence of Negligence, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, July 6, 2016.