Bicyclist Or Plaintiff Left With Severe Injury When Struck By SYV Yet Insurance Company Makes Unreasonable Offer

 By: J. Hernandez
There is value in analyzing motor vehicle accident lawsuits where insurance companies chose to make offers well below the sum ultimately recovered by the victim at trial. These claims show the elements that might come into consideration in the offer and the elements that might impact the ultimate result.

For example, look at a lawsuit in which a bicyclist was injured. The driver in this lawsuit was driving an SUV. According to the bicyclist, the driver was coming in the opposite direction when, without warning, he made a U-turn right in front of him causing the plaintiff to go over the SUV's hood. The victim tore a cartilage in his wrist in the accident. This caused him difficulties at work where he was a mechanic for a high-end motor vehicle dealer. Testimony from a doctor established that the bicyclist will probably require surgery to fuse the bones in his wrist at some point in the future and that when this happens it will probably prevent him from continuing to hold down a job as a mechanic. Because of this the bicyclist would likely not be able to make as much money in the future leading to a loss of earning capacity.

This added the driver's employer as a defendant. The insurance company made two settlement offers in the matter. The first offer was for $10,000. The second offer, which they made the week before trial, was for $30,000.

Part of this amount ($250,000) was for economic damages and part ($300,000) was for the non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and the nature of the injury.

Both sides knew the facts of this matter in advance of trial. The testimony of the physician was not a surprise. Yet, each side saw the case from a very different point of view and therefore reached a very different conclusion as to the value of the matter. The insurance company adjuster and defense lawyer most likely saw the case as about an injury from which there was a full recovery. They most likely discounted the bicyclist's assertion that he had problems from the injury when he went back to his job. And they most likely thought that the doctor's testimony was either too speculative or too far removed from the present.

But the law firm representing the plaintiff positioned the case so that it was not about an injury from which there was a full recovery but about an injury that would do even more significant damage in the future. The injury may not have required surgery immediately but it created sufficient damage to the wrist that it would require in all likelihood, not only surgery but a fusion. And this would almost certainly put an end to the plaintiff's career as a mechanic of high-end cars. By letting the jury consider the full impact of the injury the law firm was able to achieve a verdict over 18 times the amount offered by the insurer.
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