$3,700,000 Jury Verdict – Motor Vehicle Collision

In November 2015, a Gwinnett County State Court jury awarded a $3,700,000 verdict to Shiver Hamilton client, Walter. Walter sustained injuries in a wreck that occurred when he was taking his daughter to school. The defendant turned left in front of our client’s vehicle and caused a severe impact collision. Immediately after the wreck, Walter rushed over to check on his daughter who hit her head on the visor and was also injured.  Bleeding and with a laceration on his head, Walter rode with his daughter to the hospital and refused treatment for himself at the scene.

How do Car Accidents Occur?

What Walter did not know at the time, probably due to adrenaline or being distracted by the worry for his daughter, was that he suffered a herniated disc in the wreck.  A few days after the wreck, Walter experienced sharp pains in his lower back. Walter had never had any treatment for back injuries and had never had any back problems his entire life. At his wife’s urging, he went to a chiropractor for treatment. He treated with a chiropractor for several months but his back pain lingered. The chiropractor referred him to a spine specialist who conducted several imaging studies, including an MRI. The MRI revealed a significant disc injury including a herniation and tear. The discs between a person’s backbone on the spine act like shock absorbers and allow articulation of the spine. Torn, herniated, or bulging discs can cause significant pain at the back and in other places. A herniated disc that touches a nerve can cause pain called radiculopathy, down a person’s legs. Walter suffered all of those things.

After conservative treatment measures failed, Walter underwent a lumbar spine surgery called anterior lumbar discectomy and fusion (ALDF).

The majority of auto accident cases Shiver Hamilton handles are referred to the firm by other lawyers. There are a number of reasons why lawyers refer cases to our firm. Some lawyers do not practice personal injury or wrongful death and prefer their clients be represented by a firm who specializes in personal injury or wrongful death. Other cases are referred to Shiver Hamilton by lawyers who practice personal injury but do not have experience with significant cases.   Other cases are referred to Shiver Hamilton by lawyers who want to work alongside our attorneys and learn how to take a significant motor vehicle accident case to trial.

Contact an Experienced Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer

Walter’s case was initially handled by another Atlanta area law firm.  That firm was unable to negotiate a settlement with the defendant’s insurance carrier. A few months before trial, that firm asked Shiver Hamilton to assist with the jury trial. The defendant insurance company hired one of Atlanta’s most successful car wreck defense firms. The insurance company and that firm spared no expense, hiring expert witnesses to review Walter’s medical records. That expert witness, an orthopedic surgeon, told the jury that Walter’s injuries were caused by degeneration age-related changes and not due to the traumatic injury.   Shiver Hamilton called Walter’s treating physicians to testify at trial to all testified that Walter’s injuries were due to the wreck and not age-related changes.  During cross-examination of the defense expert orthopedic surgeon, he was forced to admit that medical literature he references in his report refutes his opinion that disc injuries are caused by age-related changes.

In closing argument, the defense lawyer asked the jury to return a verdict of $15,000.  The jury returned a verdict for Walter in the amount of $3,700,000.  The insurance company’s highest offer before trial was $25,000. Shiver Hamilton was brought into the case by another law firm just prior to trial.