If you know any CrossFitters, you know their obsession is unmatched. Amanda was one of them. A busy 19-year-old student at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton, Amanda always carved out the time for exercise–especially CrossFit. She needed to be in top shape and study hard to achieve her dream of joining the FBI.
But one afternoon while driving home from campus through a busy intersection, a car suddenly made an illegal turn in front of her car. Amanda frantically turned the wheel to avoid a head on collision, but couldn’t steer away fast enough. She crashed into the vehicle and veered into oncoming traffic. Desperate to regain control and avoid further danger, she took every evasive action to narrowly dodge two concrete telephone poles before ultimately crashing into a residential community sign. After just one illegal turn by one careless driver, Amanda’s entire world crashed around her.
Dream of Joining the FBI Was Compromised
Amanda suffered spinal trauma that will persist for the rest of her life. Even with expensive and ongoing treatments, her injuries will get progressively worse as she ages. Following the accident, Amanda spent countless nights tossing and turning from the pain. She was unable to sleep or keep up with her studies. Worst of all, Amanda feared her dream of becoming an FBI agent was shattered. Amanda wondered how she could ever return to CrossFit, let alone meet the physical demands of the FBI. At 19 years old, she felt her once bright future may now be out of reach.
The Importance of Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Florida
Amanda contacted our team at KL Injury Attorneys for help and we went to work immediately. We collected Amanda’s medical information and crunched the numbers so Amanda could focus on rest and recovery. The at-fault driver had an insurance policy of $25,000, which would pay just a fraction of Amanda’s medical expenses. She had incurred $60,000 in medical expenses, and her doctor estimated at least an additional $40,000 in future bills.
Unfortunately, the at-fault driver was underinsured so we could not pursue any more than $25,000 from him. However, Amanda shared an Allstate auto insurance policy with her parents that included uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. UM coverage is so important in Florida because it has one of the highest car accident rates in the country. In fact, nearly 30% of Florida drivers are uninsured or underinsured. Luckily Amanda’s Allstate UM policy covered up to $300,000 per accident for bodily harm.
The Good Hands People’s Bad Offer
We submitted a demand letter to Amada’s insurance company, Allstate, and requested fair compensation to cover her expenses, both present and future, and her future earnings potential which was likely jeopardized as a result of this accident. Allstate responded with an offer of $1,300, which was unreasonable considering the gravity and costs of her injuries. We knew immediately that negotiating with Allstate would waste Amanda’s precious time, so we quickly filed a lawsuit and requested a trial.
Amanda expressed concern about suing her own insurance company due to a common fear that they may drop her coverage or significantly increase her rate. Other law firms pressure clients like Amanda to settle with their insurance companies rather than fight these industry giants. But we assured her that seeking more compensation was the right action. Afterall, Amanda’s parents paid a premium for UM coverage for years and she deserved to reap the benefits.
Why Litigation Experience Matters
We promptly filed a lawsuit and set a trial date for Amanda’s case. While Allstate and its computer algorithms saw Amanda as little more than a claim number, we knew the jury would see her as a human and understand how much she needed a fair settlement. On the day the case went to trial, Allstate made a second offer. This time they hoped a $13,000 award would inspire Amanda to settle out of court. It didn’t. Amanda’s expenses were piling up and she knew $13,000 would barely make a dent.
Many personal injury attorneys throughout South Florida lack strong litigation experience. They settle cases for less just to avoid the courtroom. Insurance companies know this and often make lower settlement offers. Allstate was testing us and our client. Bad decision.
We believed a jury, unlike an insurance company spreadsheet formula, would understand how Amanda’s injuries will affect her in the future. At the time of trial, she was 21-years-old. We articulated to the jury how different her life would be for the next 60-plus years as a result of the accident. With permanent spinal pain, persistent neck cramps, and a new fear of driving, Amanda’s future career goals were in jeopardy. Despite Allstate’s computer-generated belief that $13,000 was enough, we knew the jury would see things differently.
You’re In Better Hands with KL
Allstate’s high-tech claims algorithms did not take Amanda’s actual condition into account when they made the second offer. Luckily in Amanda’s case, a jury of her peers did. The jury awarded her an impressive $353,000 — lightyears ahead of Allstate’s initial $13,000 offer.
We are so thrilled about the result because we live to improve the lives of clients who are facing near-impossible circumstances. Throughout Amanda’s case, we constantly checked in to see how she was feeling. We also kept her involved in all the important updates without burdening her with legal logistics. We recognized Amanda’s injuries deserved a high settlement and we were determined to get it. While she’ll have to adjust to a new normal, Amanda’s future is still bright and full of opportunity. With time and rehabilitation, we hope the FBI might have a new CrossFit-loving agent after all.