Champion Firm, P.C. - October 2019


Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorneys hampion Firm, P.C.




This month, I want to share the story of a case that really captured why I became a lawyer.

accident doesn’t make your injuries any less severe. Of course Sandra would want to visit her family for Christmas! And while she still goes dancing, she now has to take pain medicine beforehand and can’t dance nearly as long as she used to dance. Due to her injuries, she’s not as spontaneous as she once was, no longer able to take a 3-mile hike with her friends at the drop of a hat. She might not be confined to a wheelchair,

On Oct. 14, 2016, our client, Sandra, was in a car crash. She ended up in the ER with a busted lip and reports of neck pain. Just over three weeks later, she sought additional treatment at a physical therapy clinic for more neck pain and pain in her left knee and lower back. Sandra later received a facet injection from a rehabilitation doctor. Between the doctor visits, MRIs, and injections, Sandra ended up with a little over $37,000 in medical bills. During the whole experience, Sandra, a preschool teacher, only missed a single day of work. When Sandra became our client, we sent a policy limits demand of $100,000 before filing a personal injury suit. The insurance company responded with an offer of $14,000. When we filed suit in DeKalb State Court, the insurance company increased the offer to just $19,600. It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to lowball us, but it never fails to be insulting. They were offering just half of our client’s medical bills! We didn’t hesitate to take them to court this past August. During the trial, the insurance company tried to undermine our client and make it seem like she was exaggerating, if not downright lying, about her injuries. The defense focused on how Sandra hadn’t complained about back pain during her initial visit to the ER and how she didn’t get follow-up treatment for nearly a month. They pointed out how she visited her family in London the Christmas after the accident and went on vacation to the Dominican Republic earlier this year. They questioned how she could have gone salsa dancing or taken Zumba classes shortly after her treatment ended. They even tried to use the fact that she’d only missed a day of work as a mark against her. This is a very common tactic. Juries are wary against people who try to cheat the system to make a quick buck, so insurance companies often go after a person’s character. They claim that anyone who is able to live their life after an injury must be lying about the injury altogether. But contrary to what the defense may claim after an accident, people aren't just disabled or well. Trying to live your life after an

but the accident negatively impacted her life, and she was entitled to compensation from the insurance company. In our closing argument, we asked for $300,000. After 30 minutes of deliberation, the jury came back with a question: "Can we award more than the plaintiff requested?" Even I was shocked. That almost never happens. We were able to prove to the jury that Sandra was a deserving person who needed help. The jury came back with a verdict of $322,434.33. The next day, we sent the insurance a demand and told them if they paid us $350,000 by Aug. 30, we wouldn't move for attorneys fees and expenses, which would make the judgment close to $390,000. They agreed to pay the $350,000 — 17 times more than their initial offer. It sounds cliche, but these kinds of cases are the reason I became a lawyer. When you get a case where someone is clearly not being treated fairly by the insurance company,

you have the opportunity to use your skills to make a difference. Getting that verdict for our client was so rewarding. That life- changing money will really be able to help her, and it totally vindicated all the hard work we put into the case. –Darl Champion

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