A Plaintiff, insured by State Farm, was awarded $3,019,955 last month by a Florida jury in a case arising out of a motor vehicle accident. A motorist ran a stop sign and collided with the Plaintiff’s vehicle. It was reported that the other involved driver was not familiar with the area, never saw a stop sign in his path, and as a result never applied his brakes. Obviously, liability in this case was very clear. The Plaintiff was badly injured in the collision. At the time of the accident in December of 2008, he was on a year’s retirement leave from his teaching job where he had taught science for 35 years.
The driver who ran the stop sign only carried $25,000 of liability insurance coverage and his insurance carrier promptly paid the $25,000 policy limits. The Plaintiff filed a lawsuit against State Farm, his own insurance carrier, seeking the underinsured motorist benefits under his policy. State Farm refused to pay the entire $2,000,000 available in UM coverage. The Plaintiff had purchased the UM coverage to protect himself in the event of an accident caused by an uninsured or an underinsured motorist.
State Farm made a payment of $190,000 to the Plaintiff, refused to pay more and proceeded to defend the claim. The company’s lawyer asked the jury to award the Plaintiff only $400,000 in damages. But the jury returned a verdict for the Plaintiff and against State Farm and awarded $3,019,955 in damages. The verdict included damages for past and future medical expenses, lost earning ability, pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. Randall Spivey of the Spivey Law Firm in Fort Myers, Fla., represented the Plaintiff and he did a very good job.
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