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Recently, David Hawkins tried personal injury case in Lynchburg Circuit Court involving a rear end collision that resulted in soft tissue neck back injuries to the Plaintiff. She was taken to the Emergency Room and later treated by a local chiropractor. The photographs of the car showed substantial damage. This was serious car wreck, with legitimate injuries.
The chiropractor had treated the plaintiff for three and a half years but tapered the treatment to once a month and then discharged her as improved but not cured. He testified that the Plaintiff’s neck/back pain and migraines were caused by the accident and had now become chronic. Future flare-ups were expected but no prediction could be made of how often, so there was no estimate of future medical expenses.
Medical expenses on the date of trial were around $11,000. The insurance company was GEICO. The insurance company lawyers defending the case hired an orthopedic surgeon as an expert witness. The surgeon testified that the plaintiff had muscle strain and any treatment past three months was not beneficial. He said there was no way to justify the chiropractic treatment past three months.
The settlement offer from GEICO one week before trial was $12,000. The jury was only out 10 minutes and returned a verdict in the amount of $80,000.
Insurance company adjusters will admit in private that they only make low offers in Lynchburg because jurors there are ultra-conservative and render low verdicts. The only way to change this is to try cases and get good verdicts, as was fully justified in this case.