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Never Underestimate the Value of a Case: A Small Impact Motor Vehicle Accident Yields More than a $ 1.5 Million Dollar Settlement with Only $ 25,000 in Insurance Policy Limits to Work With in a Case in Georgia

ankle-x-ray-124731-m.jpgOn April 28, 2011 at 6:24 p.m. in Marietta near the Georgia landmark in Marietta, the Big Chicken Kentucky Fried Chicken Restaurant, Celeste Moon, who later becomes the Defendant, lightly hit the bumper of the back of Anne Strong’s Honda Accord. Ms. Moon was cited for Following Too Closely and it was noted that there was no Damage to either Vehicle, except a crack in the license plate holder of Ms. Strong’s car that was worth an estimated $ 50.00, and No Reported Injuries at the scene of the accident.


Later, Ms. Strong, who would become the Plaintiff in the lawsuit, presented in the Emergency Room with pain in her left leg and down her back. This was just the beginning of Ms. Strong’s long journey with her back injury with treatments, surgeries, severe pain and medical bills that would eventually total more than $ 300,000.

As a result of the extensive injuries, the Plaintiff Strong made a demand to the Defendant Moon’s Insurance Company for policy limits of $ 25,000. The insurance adjuster for the Defendant Insurer did not appreciate the value of the case and declined the Plaintiff’s demand since there was no damage to the vehicle and since the impact was so minimal and the adjuster did not believe that the Plaintiff Strong could suffer such a severe injury as a result. This would later be proven as a mistake and bad faith on the part of the Defendant insurance company.

The Plaintiff hired an accident reconstructionist and during depositions all parties became aware that the accident occurred at a speed above 7.5 miles per hour and that biomechanical studies have shown that a human can be injured above that indicated speed.

After investigators would follow the Plaintiff to insure that she was really injured to the extent stated, after attorneys would argue back and forth over what the case was really worth and whether or not the controversial ruling in a 1992 Georgia Supreme Court Case, Southern General Insurance Co. v. Holt, 262 Ga. 267, whereby the practice of securing settlements beyond an insurance policy’s limits has drawn criticism as unfair from the civil defense bar, should apply, and after allegations of bad faith and of the parties being stubbornly litigious, the parties would ultimately find themselves in mediation. In said mediation, the case would finally settle for $ 1.575 Million Dollars. The case is Strong v. Moon, No. 13A46802-3.

The moral of the story: Don’t ever underestimate the value of your case, even if the damage is limited, if your client is suffering from a severe injury. The car doesn’t have to be totaled and the impact doesn’t have to be great in order for an injury and a case to have merit.

At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, & Affiliates we have experience representing clients in many different case scenarios in Motor Vehicle Accidents that range from Soft Tissue Injuries to Catastrophic Injuries, to Wrongful Death Claims. We represent our clients zealously and we also know how to prove liability and fight the insurance companies so that our clients are compensated to the fullest extent possible under the law and under the client’s particular circumstances.

If you or a loved one have been Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident no matter how severe, then please contact us as soon as possible for your free legal consultation so that we may evaluate your case. We can be reached by any or all of the following means: By phone at (770) 865-8654, (813) 363-6664, by email at, on our Contact Form on our website, or on the Contact Form on this blog. We look forward to working with you and speaking with you soon!