John Stibbens: The Largest Knee Verdict in US Judicial History!
“The Largest Knee Verdict in History!”
As always, the smartest thing that you can do if you have been seriously injured, is to be represented by A personal injury attorney who has a proven track record of jury verdicts against these insurance companies. Cases can only be resolved in one of two ways, either settlement or by jury verdict. You can be sure that no insurance company will offer you fair settlement value for your case if you were represented by an attorney who does not pose a significant risk to that insurance company. Obviously, if that attorney as not obtained sizable jury verdicts consistently and recently, there is no threat to the insurance company, so it has no reason to pay you fair value for your case. Think about it. If you were the insurance company, would you do any differently?
Therefore, the first order of business in obtaining fair and full reimbursement for all of your damages if you have been permanently injured as a result of the negligence of another, is your choice in attorneys to represent you.
John Stebbins was an approximately 40 year old man, who was permanently injured when a vehicle was negligently backed into his path of travel, causing him to wreck his motorcycle, rather than being run over by the car. The evidence was that the crash caused his leg to be bent sideways, all the way back to his shoulder, ripping apart his knee. He was only offered $100,000.00 before trial to settle, an amount that, I am so sorry to say, many lawyers would have convinced the client to take. However, I believed his case was worth much more than that, so we agreed that the case should be tried.
At trial, John was a wonderful witness, because he is a wonderful person, and he was obviously truthful in his reporting of his injuries and their effect on both his professional and personal lives.One of the things that I tell all of my clients is that it is crucial that we make the jury understand and feel the pain that you must endure on a daily basis. The jury is not injured, does not suffer from permanent pain, and it is our job to make them feel what you have to go through every single day.
So when I asked John on the witness stand what the pain felt like in his knee and leg, he testified that every single day, no matter what medications or treatments he was trying to reduce the pain, his knee constantly felt that it was like “2,000 bees stinging my knee all at the same time constantly.”
Also, an interesting aspect to this case was that while the Defendant’s insurance company was attempting to lay at least some of the blame for the crash on John, the entire incident was witnessed by a retired Georgia State Patrol Officer, who testified that John was doing nothing wrong, clearly had the right of way, and the Defendant vehicle backed into his lane of travel, causing John to crash. The jury was obviously not happy with this transparent and ridiculous attempt by the insurance company to avoid at least some responsibility. This is not unusual.
Accordingly, the jury came back with a verdict of $7.8 million. We believe that this verdict is the largest jury verdict ever awarded in the United States for any knee injury case.
This shows precisely why credibility is everything in Court. We have it, they do not. Juries respond.
No lawyer can ever promise any results in any case. One of the things that we know, is that due to human nature, if we try the same case 10 times in front of 10 different juries, we will get 10 different results. That's just the way it is.
However, there are, as I said, only two ways to resolve a personal injury claim. One is through settlement, and the others through a jury verdict.
Either way, you must be represented by a tried-and-true, proven personal injury trial lawyer, or you are simply doing yourself and your family a disservice when it comes to your case.
Before hiring any personal injury attorney, find out what his or her track record is in obtaining jury verdicts, how many, how often and how recently. You can bet your life that the insurance company knows this information.
Find out how many wins, how many losses, what the offers were, what the results were. This is all crucial information to which you are entitled.
If you have any questions, as always, feel free to contact me personally at (904) 607-8888.
Michelle Botchey: A $1,300,000 Excess Verdict
As I have explained before, if you have been seriously injured, it is crucial for you to know how often your attorney has tried personal injury cases, as well as his/her win/loss record, as well as what he/she considers to be a “win.” Another very important piece of information that you must know is whether your attorney has ever achieved what is called an “excess verdict.”
An excess verdict is extremely important, as it represents a substantial threat to the insurance company. Many attorneys have never achieved an excess verdict. I am proud to say that I have achieved dozens. You can bet the insurance companies are very well aware of that. Let me explain why.
When anyone obtains a policy of insurance, there are what are called “limits of liability coverage.” What that means is that there is an amount of money that the insurance company is potentially liable to pay, over which there is no coverage, absent an exception of bad faith. Bad faith will be the topic of another discussion. First one needs to understand excess verdicts, for without an excess verdict, there can be no insurance bad faith.
So a defendant may be insured by a policy that has limits of $10,000, $25,000, $50,000, $100,000, $250,000, or even more. The point is, if you give the insurance company the opportunity to pay the policy limits, and you are awarded an “excess verdict,” that means that you were awarded a jury verdict in excess of the policy limits. If your lawyer is successful in doing so, there is a potential that you can then bring an action against the insurance company for the difference between the policy limits and the jury’s verdict, which is obviously the “excess” amount. Let me give you an example.
It was my privilege to represent a young woman named Michelle Botchey, who was permanently injured by a negligent driver. The negligent driver was uninsured, but Michelle had uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage with limits of only $100,000. We demanded the $100,000 policy limits, but her insurance company refused to pay, even after we showed many reasons why her case was worth more than $100,000.
Nevertheless, her insurance company refused to “tender” policy limits, and off to trial we went. Her insurance company defended the case by claiming that her injuries were actually caused by her duties as a pediatric nurse, lifting patients, heavy equipment and what have you. We countered that argument by proving that at the time she was crashed into by the negligent defendant, she had only been a nurse for approximately 6 weeks! She was in her early 20’s. There was obviously no way that she had any kind of degenerative condition as claimed by the defendant/insurance company and the jury came back with an award of approximately $1,300,000. We are now in the process of obtaining the “excess,” which is the difference between the $1,300,000 jury verdict, and the $100,000 policy limits. With interest.
The reason this is so important, is that many attorneys, being that Michelle had limits on her insurance policy of only $100,000, would have accepted less than that amount to settle her claim. Not us.
As usual, if you have any questions about this post or its content, feel free to contact my office at (904) 475-9400 or, if you prefer, you can contact me on my personal cell phone at (904) 607-8888. When you are seriously injured, your choice of attorneys can be the most important decision in your life.
$1,300,000 Excess Verdict!
An excess verdict above the insured amount of $100,000!
Harold Ward: I Never Give Up!
In 2005, I tried the case of Harold Wald. Mr. Wald was injured in a motor vehicle collision, and even though there was no surgery, to make a long story shorter, we were able to obtain a jury verdict of over $1 million. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that the First District Court of Appeal ruled that the trial Judge made an error (in one of his rulings in our favor), ordered that the verdict be thrown out, and that the case must be tried all over again. I felt, with all respect, that the decision of the District Court of Appeal was unjust, and not in keeping with Florida law.
Accordingly, I asked the Supreme Court of Florida to take jurisdiction and hear the case. It is very unusual that this occurs. The Florida Supreme Court denies the vast majority of these requests. There is no automatic right of appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.
However, I was encouraged when the Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction, and ultimately allowed us to present our appeal of the Defendant’s successful appeal of my jury verdict, which had resulted in the loss of the entire verdict, and the ordering of a new trial.
Myself, along with the spectacular work of my dear friend Perry Penland, Jr., worked on the appeal in the Florida Supreme Court, and after presenting our arguments, nothing happened. For a year. And then another year. And then another year. And another.
However, finally, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that we were right all along, we were right at trial when we asked the trial judge for the ruling that he gave us, which the First District Court of Appeal had determined was reversible error. The Florida Supreme Court ruled that it was the ruling against us by the First District Court of Appeal that was error, and the Florida Supreme Court reinstated the entire verdict with interest.
This is but one example of our dedication to never cease fighting for our clients. If I don’t believe in any case, I simply will not accept it. However, if I do believe in a case, I will ceaselessly fight within the law, and I will never, never give up. Never.
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me personally at (904) 475-9400. If you are seriously injured, you only have one chance to be represented by the best. Do your part. Investigate your attorney. Know, in detail, that attorney’s track record. The past is prologue, and how can you expect the best results in your case, unless you are represented by a personal injury attorney who has already proven both capability and determination to achieve the best results possible?And who will never give up.
Won on Appeal!