November 1, 2023. Associate Eric Jorgensen secured a win at trial for his client in Forsyth County with the jury returning a verdict less than the defense’s last offer and below the 75% threshold for an offer of settlement for one of the Plaintiffs. Senior Attorney Kevin James served as second chair at trial. This suit arose out of a motor vehicle accident that occurred on December 27, 2019. The Defendant was travelling on private property, approaching an intersection to enter GA 400S immediately behind the Plaintiffs when he failed to notice the Plaintiffs’ vehicle was stopped. The Defendant struck the rear of the Plaintiffs’ vehicle. There was minimal property damage to either vehicle and there was no airbag deployment in either vehicle. The defendant admitted fault and negligence was admitted at trial.
The Plaintiffs were sisters-in-law and were traveling in the vehicle struck by the Defendant. Plaintiff passenger left the scene via ambulance and the Plaintiff driver met her at the ER. Plaintiff passenger had complaints of back and neck pain and was treated and released. Plaintiff driver claimed to have been treated at the ER, but there were no records or bills. Both sought additional treatment with a chiropractor, who sent them for MRIs, and then to an orthopedist where they bother received injections. Their claimed medical damages at trial were approximately $43,000 for Plaintiff driver and $46,000 for Plaintiff passenger.
At trial, the plaintiffs testified regarding their injuries and treatment. Plaintiff also brought a family member who was in the accident to testify as to the collision and her injuries. In closing, Plaintiffs’ counsel asked the jury to return a verdict that included past medical bills and pain and suffering for a total award of $100,000 for each Plaintiff. Mr. Jorgensen asked the jury to award a defense verdict as to Plaintiff driver and the medical bills from the date of loss as to Plaintiff passenger. The Jury deliberated for approximately 3.5 hours before returning a verdict in favor of Plaintiff driver in the amount of $5,000 and Plaintiff passenger in the amount of $10,000. Globally the verdicts totaled $15,000 which was significantly less than the defense’s last offer to resolve just one of the Plaintiffs’ cases.
Notably the defense had filed an Offer of Settlement under O.C.G.A. 9-11-68 for Plaintiff Passenger over two years ago in the in the amount of $35,912. Because the verdict was less than 75% of the amount offered, the defense is in position to collect significant attorneys fees.
The Case is Margarita Sanchez & Hilaria Gonzalez v. Chandler Girton, State Court of Forsyth County CAFN 21SC-0798.
Read more about Senior Associate Eric Jorgensen here.