Car Accident Settlement for $400,000 – Using Cell Phone while Driving

Butler Kahn recently obtained a $400,000 settlement for a husband and wife who were involved in a t-bone collision.  Despite the at-fault driver only having $50,000 in available liability insurance coverage, we were able to effectively leverage our position to collect $200,000 from the at-fault driver’s insurance company on top of the $200,000.00 in underinsured motorist coverage from our clients’ insurance policy.

Facts of the Car Accident – Driver Using Cell Phone

At approximately 11:19 A.M. in Jonesboro, Georgia, Mr. and Mrs. Jones were proceeding straight through an intersection. After they had entered the intersection, the at fault driver blew through her red light causing a violent collision.  The at fault driver admitted to being distracted by using her cell phone, in violation of the “Hands-Free Georgia Act.” Our clients were totally innocent in this matter while the at fault driver received two traffic citations.  One citation was for failing to stop for her stop light.  In other words, the other driver was negligent and not looking ahead, so she ran through the red light traffic signal.

The second citation was for violating Georgia’s hands-free cell phone law, meaning that the at-fault driver had been on the phone at the time of the collision.  That is illegal.  In Georgia, drivers should not hold their cell phones in their hands while driving.  Texting and driving is also illegal, as is using social media or the internet while driving.  We believe that the at-fault driver ran the red light as a result of the cell phone use.

After this catastrophic collision, our clients were checked out at the hospital for their extensive injuries.  Disc bulges, a torn meniscus, a shoulder tear, and a patellar tear were just some of the many injuries Mr. and Mrs. Jones suffered.

Biggest Hurdle: Available Insurance Coverage 

Our clients’ medical bills exceeded the amount of insurance coverage available from the at fault driver.  Moreover, the limited coverage would not even begin to compensate the Jones for the pain and suffering.

Despite the minimal coverage, we relied on our experience in handling these types of cases along with our knowledge of applicable case law to create an offer to settle this case for the full policy limits subject to certain conditions that our clients would agree to.  In other words, we told the big insurance company that the Jones would only settle their case within at fault driver’s policy limits if they agreed to our terms, not theirs.

When the big insurance company rejected the reasonable offer to settle this case for their insured’s policy limits, we filed a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.  By rejecting the Jones’ settlement offer, the insurance company had subjected their insured to a lawsuit and put the at-fault driver’s personal assets at risk.  Indeed, we were confident that a jury would have no problem returning a verdict and entering a judgment against the at-fault driver well beyond the $50,000.00 limits, thereby making the at-fault driver personally liable to the Jones for any amount above $50,000.00.

$400,000 Personal Injury Settlement

Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, we were able to negotiate a settlement with the Jones’ insurance company for their underinsured motorist coverage.  At that point, we sent a letter to the  at-fault driver and her attorney explaining how her insurance company had put its customer at risk by failing to accept our reasonable offer.  We explained that we planned to tell the jury how the at-fault driver’s negligence, particularly her violation of Georgia’s hands-free law, caused serious injuries and extreme pain for the Jones.  Ten days later we received a check for $200,000 from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Diligent research and application of the law combined with a commitment to obtaining the best result for our clients enabled us to recover much more than the liability insurance policy limits in this case.  Because the insurance company did not follow every condition, and because our clients were diligent with their medical care, we were able to exceed the original insurance coverage.  As is often the case, our clients were thrilled with the result and have referred several of their family and friends to us.  Mrs. Jones also left us a 5 Star Google Review praising our incredible paralegal, Steph Bowen:

Jeb Butler
Jeb Butler’s career as a Georgia trial lawyer has led to a $150 million verdict in a product liability case against Chrysler for a dangerous vehicle design that caused the death of a child, a $45 million settlement for a young man who permanently lost the ability to walk and talk, and numerous other verdicts and settlements, many of which are confidential at the defendant’s insistence. Jeb has worked on several cases that led to systemic changes and improvements in public safety. He has been repeatedly recognized as a Georgia SuperLawyer and ranks among Georgia’s legal elite. Jeb graduated in the top 10% of his class at UGA Law, argued on the National Moot Court team, and published in the Law Review. He is the founding partner of Butler Kahn law firm. Connect with me on LinkedIn

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