The Case That Mysteriously Grew Tenfold
On April 15, 2005, our client was camping with some friends. They went to look for firewood in a pickup truck being driven by the defendant. A group of people, including our client, sat on the pickup’s tailgate while the defendant drove very slowly along an old logging trail. Apparently, as a prank, the defendant “punched” the gas and our client was thrown out of the truck.
Our client suffered a displaced fracture of her left ankle (a trimalleolar fracture). Despite her obvious injury, the defendant initially refused to help take her to the hospital. And he was the only one who knew how to get to the nearest hospital!
When the victim’s friends were finally able to persuade the defendant to show them where to find the hospital, the local doctors did their best to treat her fracture with a cast. Ultimately, however, her fracture required a surgical repair. After the surgery, she had a good recovery — although she still experiences some soreness and swelling with use and weather changes.
The insurance company for the defendant tried to blame our client for falling out of the truck. They offered her only $7,500. We were convinced that the insurance company had grossly undervalued our client’s claim and so we pressed on with a lawsuit and prepared for trial.
As the case got closer to trial, we won a key ruling from the Court that allowed us to proceed with a claim for punitive damages against the defendant. The defendant’s insurance carrier suddenly got reasonable and invited us to mediate the case.
In the end, our client ended up with a total settlement of $75,000, which was 10 times more than the amount that the insurance company had insisted the case was worth when we started.