Orlando, FL (PRWEB) December 06, 2013
Morgan & Morgan attorneys Nicholas Panagakis and Keith Mitnik recovered nearly $450,000 in damages for a bicyclist whose insurance provider claimed he was entirely to blame for injuries sustained in an accident with an SUV on Orange Avenue in South Orlando, according to court documents.
“This was a very tough case for which we were expecting a significant amount of comparative negligence against our client,” said Panagakis, whose practice is headquartered in Morgan & Morgan’s Orlando office. “The main lesson we learned from this case is that an insurance company should not expect the jury to take the word of [another driver] over their own insured who did everything he could to avoid the crash.”
In his testimony, Edward Clark claimed that he attempted to avoid the driver of the SUV by going around her, but crashed into the back of the vehicle after she suddenly and unexpectedly stopped while in the process of making a right-hand turn. Though the plaintiff’s ticket was ultimately dismissed, court records show Clark was initially cited for the accident by police after admitting he crashed his high-performance bicycle into the back of the SUV.
Court documents show the defendant, Travelers Home and Marine Insurance Company, took the position that the accident was completely the plaintiff’s fault. According to court records, Travelers Insurance claimed the accident would have never taken place had Clark braked properly and been riding in a safer manner. The company asked that the jury find the plaintiff 100 percent responsible for the accident. Conversely, court records show, Clark’s counsel argued the defendant was at fault, and asked that their client receive all of his past medical bills and an additional $100,000 for each of the three surgeries Clark underwent as a result of the broken shoulder he sustained in the accident.
“Traveler’s Insurance Company truly felt it was all our client’s fault,” Panagakis said. “They truly took an all or nothing approach.”
Court documents show the jury ultimately awarded Clark $442,239.46 in damages. Though Clark was fully recovered and back to cycling at the time of the trial, he recovered more than $320,000 alone in costs related to pain and suffering and nearly $100,000 in past and future medical expenses. According to Panagakis, cases like these are not always cut-and-dry, and preparation is sometimes key in separating truth from fiction.
“The lesson we learned is through our extensive trial preparation, we were able to convey the facts of the case in a way that showed that our client was truly not at fault, even though the expert witness of the defense wanted to very neatly tie with a bow the fact that our client simply needed to brake in an emergency situation and the crash never happens,” Panagakis said. “That is neither common sense nor a basic human reaction under emergency circumstances as we saw here.”
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Morgan & Morgan is one of the largest exclusively plaintiffs’ law firms in the country with 16 offices throughout Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, and New York. The firm handles cases nationally involving product liability, personal injury, medical malpractice, consumer class action, and securities fraud, as well as complex litigation against drug and medical device manufacturers. Visit Morgan & Morgan online at http://www.forthepeople.com/ for a free case evaluation and information about your legal rights.
*Case No. 2011-CA-4053-O in the Circuit Court of the Ninth Judicial District, In and For Orange County, Florida