Fighting Against Insurance Companies: A Modern Day David v. Goliath
When a Motor Vehicle Victim Dies in the Middle of Trial
One day in September 2016, Debra was crossing the street in her motorized wheelchair, as she had done countless times. Suddenly, she was struck by a van and dragged under it. The pain was excruciating, especially in her right hip and right arm. Debra was no stranger to pain but this pain was different; nearly unbearable. During her stay at the hospital, which lasted over a month, the doctors discovered that both her hip and arm were fractured. Debra, who had been in the process of learning to walk with a prosthesis after the amputation of her legs, had to put that dream on hold as she recovered from this terrible accident.
Debra called the personal injury lawyers at FitzGerald Law Company from the very beginning. Recognizing the horrible injuries that Debra had suffered, our office reached out to the insurance company of the van driver immediately and requested the full amount of the policy in compensation for Debra, so she would not have to worry about her expenses, which were quickly piling up.
Despite how obvious it was that the van’s driver was at fault for the accident, the insurance company decided to take another approach and deny liability. It hired a large law firm to defend its position, and the firm began putting together its theory that Debra was at fault. Surprised but undeterred, our office knew that no reasonable jury would agree with the insurance company’s lawyers, and so we filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court.
A tactic that is typical of insurance companies and their lawyers is to drag out the litigation as much as possible, making life hard for the ones who have been injured, such as Debra. However, the lawyers of FitzGerald Law Company are familiar with this tactic, and made sure to limit their requests for evidence and to respond to all the insurance company’s lawyers’ court filings as quickly as possible. We kept the litigation moving at a quick pace. In the meantime, Debra continued to recover from her injuries, although her hip was never the same.
Sadly, Debra passed away one year after the accident due to unrelated causes. Knowing that she would not want the lawsuit to end as a result of her death, our office completed a process with the Probate Court that permitted Debra’s daughter, Erica, to take her place in the lawsuit.
Shortly thereafter the FitzGerald Law Company attorneys conducted a deposition of the van’s driver that revealed the many weaknesses in the insurance company’s case. As soon as we had the driver’s testimony, our office prepared an extensive Motion for Summary Judgment for the Superior Court, which would allow the court to find the van’s driver liable without having to present the case to a jury. As soon as we served the motion on the insurance company’s lawyers, as the rules required, they asked our office if we would agree to present the case in a mediation proceeding first. Although it is very important to know when to insist on a jury trial, it is equally important to know when mediation is appropriate. In this case, mediation was the right choice and our office agreed to the insurance company’s lawyers’ request.
Following a full day of mediation where the insurance company’s lawyer, our lawyers, and Erica were present, a settlement was reached. With the settlement, Erica and her family were able to pay off all of Debra’s medical bills and still have a substantial amount of money left over. With part of this, the family did something that Debra had dearly wanted to do with her children and grandchildren: travel to Disney World.
Although there is no way to undo the pain that Debra, and her family, suffered due to the horrible accident, there is a sense of peace knowing that one of Debra’s wishes did indeed come true. The accident lawyers at FitzGerald Law Company are always ready to assist families through these difficult times and ensure that the tactics of insurance companies and their lawyers do not prevent justice from being done.