- Underinsured Driver Jury Verdict
- State Farm Fights Paying its Insured for His Low Back Injury
- Accident Summary: Blindsided
- Settlement Secured: Head-on Collision
- Veteran Injured: A Complicated Matter
- Attorney Referral Case: Settlement Negotiation
- Settlement Secured: Distracted Driving
Underinsured Driver Jury Verdict
“In 2007, “D.B.” was working in Chicago as a claims adjuster for State Farm Insurance Company. A former Indiana Mr. Basketball, he had worked for State Farm for 25 years. Nevertheless, when he had to make an underinsured motorist claim under his State Farm policy, the company refused to cooperate in any fashion and forced the injured employee, with the help of lawyer Mike Stephenson, to file suit against it.
The accident occurred when the plaintiff’s vehicle was hit from behind by a driver who had only the state minimum insurance coverage, and it caused significant injury to the client’s left arm, which required repeated physical therapy, steroid injections and arthroscopic surgery. Not only had the defendant insurer been unreasonable during negotiations, they objected during the trial to letting the jury know the medical expert’s report was favorable to the plaintiff.
Attorney Stephenson’s persistence paid off, however, and in December of 2013 the jury returned a verdict against State Farm for $200,000, more than what the plaintiff’s settlement offer had been. Whether in settlement negotiations or jury trials, Mike Stephenson aggressively advocates for the rights of his injured clients and is unafraid to take on a team of corporate lawyers.”
State Farm Fights Paying its Insured for His Low Back Injury
C.M. was hit by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel. The impact spun C.M.’s pickup truck around and totaled the truck. As a result, C.M. had an injury to his low back. The driver’s insurance company quickly paid its policy limits of $50,000. C.M. had underinsured motorist coverage with State Farm. Underinsured motorist coverage is insurance coverage that you pay for to cover you in the event that a driver who hits you does not have enough coverage to fully compensate you for your injuries. Your insurance company has to approve any settlement with an underinsured driver in order for that coverage to kick in. State Farm approved C.M.’s settlement with the driver.
Over the next couple of years, C.M. tried conservative treatment with physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, and injections. The pain would go away temporarily but always returned. Each time it returned, the pain was worse. C.M. could not drive or even sit in a chair for more than a few minutes because of the intensity of the pain. C.M. ultimately had to have multi-level fusion surgery on his low back. His bills were in excess of $200,000. Even though he had $100,000 medical coverage on his State Farm auto policy, State Farm argued that it did not have to pay for C.M.’s surgery because it was related to a degenerative condition, not to the crash. C.M.’s doctors related the surgery to the crash. State Farm hired its own expert who also related the surgery to the crash. Eventually, State Farm did pay the medical benefits; however, it still refused to pay up to C.M.’s limits on the underinsured motorist claim.
The case was set for trial. Stephenson and Rife hired an animation company to prepare a video exhibit to help the jury understand the complexity of the surgery C.M. had to endure. Our attorneys shared the exhibit with State Farm at mediation shortly before trial. State Farm paid $850,000 to settle the case.
Accident Summary: Blindsided
“B.D.” driving to a local hospital where she worked as a registered nurse in the chemotherapy department. As B.D. was approaching a county road, a semi moved to the left-hand lane of the four-lane road and was making a left turn onto the county road. A pick-up driver could not see around the semi and drove directly into her path, giving her no time to apply her brakes or swerve. B.D. received what was initially felt to be a minor injury to her left foot that resulted in it being placed in a splint. She continued to experience complications with the injuries to her foot that ultimately resulted in surgery.
After Attorney Stephenson’s involvement and communicating extensively with the treating doctors, it was established that the type of injury received by B.D. would prevent her from ever working at a job where she would be required to stand on her feet, as she had done for years. Our client’s injuries were tremendously increased by the fact that she was unable to help those who needed chemotherapy. She was restricted to a desk job and talking on phone. The injuries were difficult to quantify, but were very significant to B.D. The case was eventually settled after mediation for a confidential sum.
Settlement Secured: Head-on Collision
“A.A.” is a 21 year old young lady who was injured in an automobile accident on a county road when a pick-up truck came left of center striking her vehicle head-on. She received a significant compound comminuted fracture of her right femur and tibia fibula. Liability was initially contested by the underinsured carrier. However, after less than 30 days’ involvement by our firm, the driver’s carrier tendered their policy limits of $100,000.
There was underinsured motorist coverage of $1 million and, after filing suit, the matter was settled for $820,000.
Veteran Injured: A Complicated Matter
Stephenson was hired by “B.S.” to pursue a personal injury claim as a result of serious injuries suffered in an automobile accident in Ohio. B.S. had served his country in Vietnam and suffered many complications from his exposure to Agent Orange. The numerous health complications suffered made his injuries much more significant than anticipated. The insurance company initially took the position that his injuries were very minimal as a result of the accident.
After a full investigation of the medical complications and injuries caused from the accident and by the exposure to Agent Orange, Stephenson was able to obtain a confidential settlement.
Attorney Referral Case: Settlement Negotiation
M.A.L. v. Bernhardt & State Farm. Attorney Mike Stephenson was hired less than six months before trial to assist another attorney in final trial preparation and trying the case where the defendant admitted illegally turning in front of M.A.L. The impact of the accident caused M.A.L. to severely jam both thumbs in the steering wheel and to hit her head. M.A.L. suffered severe strains and sprains to her thumbs, a concussion, vertigo, and dizziness.
Shortly before Stephenson’s involvement, the defendant’s carrier, Progressive Insurance Company, offered $14,000 to settle the claim. After reviewing the medical records, Stephenson scheduled the deposition of the plaintiff’s primary treating doctor. At mediation, the underlying carrier tendered its policy limits of $50,000 to settle the claim. State Farm had $50,000 of additional underinsured motorist coverage and, at mediation, offered only to waive the $10,000 medical pay claim. Stephenson then took an additional doctor’s deposition, after which State Farm offered $45,000 of their $50,000 policy limits and agreed to waive all of their $10,000 medical pay claim. The case settled shortly thereafter.
Settlement Secured: Distracted Driving
“L.G.” retained Stephenson to pursue a personal injury claim against the driver a vehicle that
failed to stop at a stop sign and ran directly into her path. Our client received injuries to both her
right and left foot and ankle resulting in numerous surgeries. Stephenson was able to negotiate a
settlement in the amount of $500,000.