He was a husband, a father of three, and a small business owner. Over years of hard work and dedication, he built his plumbing business into a fixture in his community. When he wasn’t working, he enjoyed playing baseball and coaching his son’s local Little League squad. He’d paid his dues, and had built a good life for himself, his employees, and his family.
How the Dorchester County Accident Happened
On a brisk October morning in 2016, the convergence of an inattentive teen driver and the bad luck of being in the wrong place, at the wrong time, jeopardized everything he had worked so hard to earn. On the way to work, he was stopped at a traffic light behind a long line of cars backed up by road work in the area. Almost without warning, a black sedan smashed into his pickup truck, causing the man’s neck to violently snap back and forth–inflicting severe damage to his upper spine–and nearly totaling his vehicle. Later he would recall catching a glimpse of the sedan and its driver just before the impact; rather than watching the road, she had been looking down, presumably at her cell phone.
After speaking to police and exchanging information with the other driver, the man went directly to the emergency room. The ER was the beginning of a long and expensive course of medical treatments that placed major financial stress on the man and his family. The man was too tough to let his injuries keep him from doing the work he loved, but dealing with the pain meant he couldn’t work at his normal pace, and couldn’t take as many jobs as he used to. He had trouble sleeping. He kept on coaching his Little League team but could no longer be the active presence he once was at practice. The pain in his neck was so severe, he couldn’t throw a baseball with his son.
Ultimately, the injured man’s doctors determined that he required a three-level spinal fusion in his neck to regain anything like his normal function. He was counting on the teenager’s insurance company to help him pay for the care he needed, yet they fought him every step of the way. His medical bills continued to grow.
Bringing the Case to Justice
The man had never sued anyone in his life, but with his treatments draining his savings and constraining his ability to work, he became convinced it was the only choice. On the advice of a friend, he hired Joye Law firm to help.
An experienced personal injury team led by attorney Mark Bringardner set to work on the man’s behalf. “The pain and distress caused by the impact were significant,” said Bringardner, “but that was just the beginning. This man suffered during the weeks and months of his recovery. He experienced excruciating pain. He underwent a serious and invasive spinal fusion surgery. He will be dealing with the results of this collision for the rest of his life. There isn’t a cure.”
The Bringardner team’s approach centered on aggressively pursuing the teenager’s insurance company, which had consistently denied that the injured man really needed the care he required to get his life back on track. “All the while,” Brigardner recalled, “he [felt] like the insurance company is not taking him seriously and giving him the runaround. We had to force the insurance company to make this right for him.” After several rounds of negotiation, it became clear that the insurance adjusters were not willing to provide a fair settlement offer. Their highest offer was not even close to what could be considered reasonable. It would not even cover one-tenth the total costs for the man’s medical treatments, not to mention his lost wages, repair costs for his truck, and the drastic effects on his quality of life.
For Bringardner and his team, this kind of low-ball result was unacceptable. They were determined to take the case to trial in order to protect their client’s interests and make him fully whole. “This case isn’t just about a guy getting rear-ended and needing neck surgery. It’s about the permanent, life-altering consequences of someone’s carelessness. It is about the physical, emotional, social, and economic ramifications to a man’s life,” Bringardner explained.
In August 2017, Bringardner filed a car accident lawsuit in Dorchester County Court against the teen driver and her insurance company. He laid out the facts of the case before a judge and jury, and explained to the jurors that the teen’s insurance company had shirked its responsibility to help the injured man recover his losses. The jurors agreed. When all was said and done, they decided that a fair judgment was well above the sum offered by the insurance adjusters.
The verdict: $2.2 million. The judgment is believed to be one of the largest personal injury verdicts ever awarded in Dorchester County.
The injured man was not an attention-seeker. Taking center stage in a public trial was something foreign to his nature, but in refusing to uphold their obligations, the insurance company had given him no choice. Going to trial gave him the opportunity to send the insurance company a message; people aren’t just numbers, and they deserve to be treated fairly.
The man chose Joye Law Firm because of their strong track record of fighting to obtain the best possible outcomes for their clients, a goal the firm has been proud to pursue throughout its 50-year history. This record includes a number of outstanding settlements and verdicts won on behalf of injured clients. With a talented group of lawyers supported by a highly skilled support staff, Joye Law Firm has the tools, experience, and know how to handle any personal injury case, large or small.
The injured man’s attorney, Mark Bringardner, is a senior member of the Joye Law Firm personal injury litigation department. Based in Charleston and licensed to practice throughout South Carolina, Bringardner holds a 10.0 Rating by Avvo, and has been selected for inclusion in both 2018 South Carolina “Rising Star” Super Lawyers and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” by the National Trial Lawyers.