Erie injury lawyers know that Verdict Search is a database of the most important trial verdicts rendered across the country. So, it wasn’t exactly a surprise but was nevertheless pleasing to see that our recent verdict in the case of Engel v. State Farm was featured by Verdict Search as being among the most important verdicts in Pennsylvania in 2014.
Regular readers will remember Wendy Engel’s trial as one in which State Farm used all sorts of underhanded tactics to deny their own insured the benefits to which she was entitled under her insurance policy but which trial ultimately ended favorably for Wendy. State Farm had offered Wendy $18,000 in settlement before trial started. The jury determined the real value of Wendy’s case was in excess of $375,000.
So, good news for Wendy and for us that the jury was able to see the truth. Systemically, however, the case stands as a stark warning for injured people who are trying to get compensation for their harms and losses. Insurance companies simply will not voluntarily pay fair value, not even when injured people have a good case, like Wendy did. Instead, an injured person is forced to incur the expense, delay and risk of going to a jury for the justice they deserve.
Going forward, people who have been injured in Pennsylvania car accidents should think hard about Wendy Engel’s case. The case suggests (as we have elsewhere many times) that injured people absolutely need a lawyer’s help if they wish to have a reasonable chance of getting fair compensation. Also, the case highlights the risk that some cases may have to go to trial and this ought to be a consideration that an injured person keeps foremost in their minds when selecting an injury lawyer for their case.