Atlanta, Georgia, June 30, 2020: Last week, Schneider Injury Law, personal injury trial law firm, successfully obtained a $500,000 excess settlement in a case involving a boating accident that left its client permanently disabled with a limp.
On July 15, 2017, a small group of friends took out Defendant’s pleasure boat for a fishing trip in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Cocoa Beach, Florida. Within an hour of leaving shore, the boat began experiencing mechanical issues and was having trouble getting on plane. This occurred twice more throughout the day. The Defendant suggested that Plaintiff and another passenger go up on the bow of the boat to weigh down the bow and get the boat back on plane. Rather than throttling the boat to smoothly accelerate as it achieved plane, the Defendant had the engine cranked at full throttle while the Plaintiff was still positioned on the bow and in the process of climbing back down into the boat. As a result, when the boat planed out, the Defendant could not control the boat’s acceleration, and it jumped forward over a wave at a rate that threw Plaintiff five to six feet into the air. He suffered severe injuries when he landed, including a fractured right foot and a torn ACL/MCL. His injuries required multiple surgeries, and he suffered complications from an open wound that further complicated his healing process.
In July 2018, prior to filing a lawsuit, Schneider Injury Law gave the insurance company a reasonable opportunity to settle the case within policy limits. The insurance company rejected the demand’s condition of offering a limited liability release, rather than a general release. Because of the severe nature of Plaintiff’s injuries, Schneider Injury Law was not prepared to fully release the Defendant. Because Schneider Injury Law felt confident that the insurance company had acted in bad faith by failing to settle the claim when presented with a reasonable opportunity to do so, the firm decided to pursue the case in court, seeking a recovery in excess of the policy limits.
Once the lawsuit was filed, the Defendant disclaimed any responsibility for Plaintiff’s injuries and blamed Plaintiff instead. After the depositions of Plaintiff, Defendant and two eyewitnesses were taken, Schneider Injury Law sent a demand for $500,000, detailing the horrific nature of the injuries and informing Defendant, his attorneys and the insurance company that Plaintiff would be seeking millions of dollars at trial. The demand gave Defendant 10 days to pay $500,000, or the demand would go up to $550,000 and $10,000 each month after that. On the 10th day, the Defendant’s insurance company accepted the demand and agreed to pay the $500,000, recognizing that it was risking much more if it refused and proceeded to trial.
Bethany Schneider, of Schneider Injury Law, commented: “The insurance company finally recognized the true value of my client’s claim, which was far in excess of the $100,000 policy limits. It was a hard and personal fight for my client to get here. My client is relieved to have resolution in this case, which could have gone on for more years to come if not for this settlement. He will never be the same, but he has achieved some justice today.”
The case was pending in the 9th Judicial Circuit in and for Orange County, Florida.