On February 19, 2012 the Plaintiff, Michael Gentis, was heading North on I-85 in his Honda Civic at Spaghetti Junction in Georgia when a truck merging from I-285 in front of him swerved out of control and jackknifed. The Plaintiff was not able to stop and subsequently crashed into the tractor-trailer.
The Plaintiff suffered a severe back injury whereby he required surgery and incurred $ 150,000 in medical bills. The case is Gentis v. Global Hawk, No. 13A46963-4.
Although the accident was clearly the truck drivers fault, the insurance company for the truck driver denied several demands from the Plaintiff for policy limits. Thereby exposing itself to potential bad faith claims that ultimately could have led to a judgement that exceeded the ultimate $ 950,000 settlement which was $ 200,000 over insurance policy limits.
Other factors that were in play in the case was the fact that tractor-trailer driver was cited for failure to maintain lane, there was speculation that driver fatigue may have played a role in the accident, later that evening the same driver was involved in another accident in the State of Virginia, and the driver did not speak proficient english which is a trucking law violation. Instead he relied upon an app on his cellphone to translate his language of Chinese to English.
All of these factors coupled with the clear liability on the truck drivers part should have led to at least a payment of policy limits in this case at the onset. Fortunately for the Defendant, the issues were not pushed to trial and the case ultimately settled for $ 200,000 over policy limits for a total of a $ 950,000 settlement.
If taken to trial, in light of the possibility of a bad faith insurance claim in favor of the Plaintiff due to the Defendant Insurance Company’s lack of cooperation to submit to the Plaintiff’s original demands for insurance policy limits, and given the clear liability on the part of the Defendant and the severe nature of the Plaintiff’s injuries, a judgement in a court of law may have been much more than the $ 950,000 settlement.
At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, & Affiliates we are experts at representing victims who have been severely injured or killed in accidents involving tractor-trailers. We understand the importance of a complete investigation into the accident to determine issues such as driver fatigue, liability in the accident, injuries in the accident, and the potential for bad faith claims on the part of tractor-trailer insurance companies, just to name a few of the issues that are involved in these types of accidents.
If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in an accident involving a tractor-trailer, then please Contact Us today for your free legal consultation.
As stated in other blog posts that I have written about tractor-trailer accidents, these cases are very complex and it is, therefore, imperative that you have competent legal counsel by your side from the onset to conduct an investigation that is unique to these types of accidents so that your case can ultimately result in your receipt of all of the just compensation that you deserve under the circumstances.
Contact Us today, and we look forward to hearing from you soon!