Soft Tissue Auto Accident Settles For $40,000

Attorney Daniel VillalobosAuthor: Attorney Daniel Villalobos

Client Gets Into An Accident

Our client, a mid-forties women of Arabic decent, was driving her vehicle in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Suddenly and without warning, a tractor trailer overshot his turn and smashed into the side of our client’s car with the back of the tractor. The tractor stopped, looked in his rear view mirror, saw what he had done, and then fled the scene. How or why he thought he could flee an accident scene with success while driving a massive tractor trailer will forever remain a mystery in the eyes of any rational human being. Nevertheless my client was not about to become another helpless victim. She drove behind the tractor trailer honking her horn telling the driver to pull over. The driver ignored her and continued driving. Eventually our client realized the driver was not going to stop, and so she took down the license plate, stopped her car, and called the police. The police tracked down the driver and called him instructing him to return to the accident scene. The driver grudgingly obliged. While at the scene the tractor trailer driver pretended he had no idea he had struck our client. However, our client’s husband, who was a passenger, had video recording of the incident on his cell phone and was able to refute the claims by the tractor trailer driver. Ultimately the driver was charged with a hit and run.

Dell and Schaefer Negotiate A Settlement

After the accident, our client underwent medical care with a local chiropractor. The treatments lasted for approximately 20 visits. Our client got an MRI which showed a disc bulge in her cervical spine. Our client did not wish to undergo any surgeries nor injections. Our firm filed the bodily injury demand with the insurance company. Normally, cases such as these, with PIP benefits extended, could settle for as low as $5,000 since the injuries were minimal and the majority of the medical bills were paid by the PIP benefits of my client’s own car insurance. However, our firm decided to include a claim for possible punitive damages in our demand letter. Our firm reasoned in our demand letter that not only was the driver responsible for damages to pay for my client’s minor injuries, but he was also liable for punitive damages should the case go to a jury. Under Florida Law, a jury can award punitive damages if a driver is found guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence. The courts define gross negligence to mean that the defendant’s conduct was so reckless or wanting in care that it constituted conscious disregard or indifference to the life, safety, or rights of persons exposed to such conduct. Our firm reasoned that the driver was grossly negligent by fleeing the accident scene and leaving our client for dead. We argued that when the jury discovers the tractor trailer driver fled the scene to avoid prosecution, they will slap him with punitive damages.

The insurance company obviously got a little nervous about this argument because they settled a minor injury claim for $40,000. Our client was absolutely delighted to get $40,000 on a case that was worth substantially less by injury alone. Call us for a free consultation. We do not charge a cost or fee unless we recover money for you.

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