Plaintiff receives $1.02M in rear-end crash settlement

A woman who was injured when she was rear-ended in a chain-reaction crash has reached a $1.02 million in a settlement with the other drivers’ insurance companies and her underinsured motorist coverage provider, her attorney reports.

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Ran Stoney of Joye Law Firm in North Charleston said his 50-year-old client, Jennifer Preszler, was stopped at a red light in Mount Pleasant in July 2016 when another driver crashed into the back of her vehicle. A third car then rear-ended the car that rear-ended Preszler, who suffered neck injuries that required cervical fusion, Stoney said.

Case Complications from a Previous Accident

The case was complicated by the fact that Preszler was involved in another car crash two years after she had surgery for the injuries sustained in the first wreck, Stoney said. But the expert witness for the defendants testified that MRI comparisons showed that her injuries were a result of the initial crash.

“From a defense perspective, they’re going to say ‘Well, everything after that second wreck is related to that.’ So we had a big hurdle getting over, ‘No, this life care plan and continued treatment are really from this first wreck,’ Stoney said. “And their own expert admitted that, ‘Yeah, I’ve looked at the MRIs and there’s no new pathology.’” The insurers for the other two drivers, USAA and Progressive, tendered their full policy limits. Once their coverage was exhausted, Preszler’s UIM provider, Geico, assumed the defense of the case, with separate attorneys representing each driver.

Settling the Case

The settlement agreed to Sept. 25 in Charleston County, which includes special damages of  $246,474 for medical expenses.  Mediation in the case had been unsuccessful, so Stoney had taken more depositions and prepared to go to trial before the two sides ultimately reached a deal.

“I am grateful to the client for trusting me and for having patience through the process,” Stoney said. “This was a hard-fought case that was well lawyered by both sides.  We stuck to our guns and were fully prepared to go to trial. Ultimately, that became unnecessary, and we were able to recover an amount that fully and fairly compensates this well-deserving client.”

Attorneys Nickisha Woodward of Turner Padget in Charleston and Ryan Conner of Milligan & Herns in Mount Pleasant represented the defendants’ insurance companies. Woodward could not be reached for comment on the settlement. Conner declined to comment.

 

Reprinted with permission of South Carolina Lawyers Weekly © 2019

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