Car Accident Settlement of $325,000

Car Accident Settlement of $325,000

Butler Kahn recently obtained a $325,000 settlement in a car accident case.  Our client was stopped in traffic during her morning commute when she was rear-ended.  As a result of the wreck, our 30-year-old client suffered from debilitating back, neck, and shoulder pain for over a year until she underwent spinal surgery.

Here’s more about the case.

Facts of the Car Wreck

At approximately 7 a.m. on October 23, 2019, our client was stopped in traffic on her way to her job as an x-ray technician in Atlanta.  The next thing our client knew, there was a loud crash and bits of shattered glass showered the inside of her car.

Our client’s sedan was totaled in the accident.

The at-fault driver admitted that she mistakenly pressed the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal.  Police issued the at-fault driver a citation for following too closely in violation of O.C.G.A § 40-6-49(a).  Both the at-fault driver and the investigating police officer agreed that our client was not at fault in any way for the wreck.

Personal Injuries: Herniated Discs in Neck, Broken Finger

Our client suffered two herniated discs in her neck and a broken finger in the collision.  A “herniated disc” means that the soft, jelly-like cushion between two vertebrae (the bones that stack to make a person’s spine) is pushed out through a tear or rupture in the disc.  As the disc material bulges out, it puts pressure on the nerves that run up and down the spine.  A disc injury can also cause bony parts of the spine to put pressure on nerves.  Putting pressure on the nerves can hurt.  It can cause significant pain to the area of the affected nerve, as well as pain that moves or radiates from the neck into other parts of the body, such as the back, shoulders, or arms.

An illustration of a herniated disc with nerve compression

In our client’s case, the rapid and forceful movement of our client’s spine in the collision injured two of the discs in her neck.  This part of the spine, known as the cervical spine, contains several nerves that run from the spinal cord down to the shoulders and arms.  When the injured discs in our client’s neck put pressure on those nerves, the pressure caused pain, numbness, and tingling in our client’s right shoulder that radiated down to her right arm and hand.

As a healthy 30-year-old woman, our client had never experienced any pain like this before the collision.  Almost immediately after the collision, our client’s right shoulder began to hurt and she felt a “pins and needles” sensation that radiated from her shoulder to her hand.  Our right-handed client had difficulty gripping objects (such as a pen or pencil) with her right hand in the weeks and months after the collision.  The pain was aggravated by overhead movements, which our client frequently had to perform when positioning X-ray equipment at work.

Our client worked through pain and difficulty sleeping at night for over a year after the collision.  She saw multiple doctors, underwent physical therapy, and tried steroid injections during this time without improvement.  Because none of these treatments worked and our client’s symptoms continued to persist over a year after the collision, our client followed her doctor’s recommendation to proceed with surgery.

The surgery, known as an artificial disc replacement, involved cutting through the front of the neck and completely removing the discs between the affected vertebrae.  Artificial discs designed to mimic the structure and movement of the patient’s natural discs are then inserted between the vertebrae.  After recovering from the surgery, our client’s pain had greatly improved, and she was able to return to doing normal, everyday tasks that she enjoyed before the collision.

$325,000 Personal Injury Settlement

Despite the at-fault driver having admitted responsibility for causing the accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company refused to pay what we and our client viewed as a reasonable and fair settlement offer early in the case.

Just a few months after the accident, the COVID-19 pandemic forced courts and even many medical providers to shutter operations.  This not only made it difficult for our client to get medical treatment, but also made it impossible to try our client’s case in front of a jury until after the courts resumed jury trials.

Shortly after our client’s surgery in January 2021, we offered to settle with the at-fault driver’s insurance company for $300,000.  The insurance company rejected that offer.  Following multiple rounds of unsuccessful settlement negotiations, the insurance company sent an “Offer of Settlement” pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 9-11-68.  This type of offer meant that if a jury were to return a verdict for an amount equal to or less than 75% of the offer (in this instance, $131,250), then our client could be personally ordered to pay for the defendant’s attorneys’ fees and expenses through trial.  Our client saw this offer for what it was – an attempt to bully her into accepting a lesser amount than her case was worth – and declined the offer.  We countered with our own Offer of Settlement, which meant that the insurance company would similarly be liable for our client’s attorney’s fees and expenses in the event that a jury awarded 125% or more of our $400,000 offer.

In the end, our client’s perseverance paid off.  Although we did not reach a jury trial, the insurance company agreed to settle our client’s case for $325,000 after our case was placed on the court’s jury trial calendar (meaning that our case was “in the queue” with a trial date to be announced).  Hard work and persistence pays off, and this case proves it.

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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