In a six day trial against a State Farm insured driver, Washington brain injury lawyer Aaron DeShaw has obtained a verdict for double the at-fault driver's insurance policy limit. The jury included a long time State Farm insurance adjustor. State Farm Insurance, the insurer for the at-fault driver, refused to make any offer for 5 1/2 years despite liability, injuries and damages to the client being clear.
Our law firm represented a Vancouver Washington man who is a well respected audio - video expert in sports broadcasting who has done work for the Pac 12, The Portland Trailblazers, other NBA teams, Major League Baseball, the NHL, the Super Bowl, and several Olympics, as well as hundreds of other sports events in his career. In 2017 he sustained a traumatic brain injury when hit by a woman who plowed into his car and two other cards on a freeway offramp. After the injury the client had severe migraine headaches, memory loss, problems thinking, behavioral changes, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound and many other traumatic brain injury symptoms. He was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and injuries to the neck and back by three separate M.D.s and four other providers doing brain injury evaluations.
Throughout the case, State Farm refused to make any offer even though liability and injuries were clear. In Washington, where expert depositions are allowed, our lawyer confirmed in 2020 that the defense psychologist Donna Wicher, Ph.D. had no "probable" basis for her alternative explanations about the client's ongoing brain injury symptoms. Despite this State Farm pushed the case to trial, knowing it had no admissible evidence, hoping the jury would turn the client away despite the law being fully in favor of a jury verdict.
The case initially went to trial in August 2021. When we obtained a very neutral jury - a situation that would have been favorable to our client, the defendant and her son intentionally spoke to multiple jurors, resulting in a mistrial. The trial was delayed for another year.
In August 2022, the jury pool was very conservative, as is common in Clark County Superior Court. During jury selection several potential jurors were honest about their dislike for injured people making claims, plaintiff lawyers, and cases like the McDonald's Coffee case. Several jurors were clearly against our injured client before the trial started, and initially admitted that, but then later refused to agree that they would be biased against one side or the other making it impossible for the judge to remove them "for cause." We selected the best jury possible, but this resulted in a seated jury containing a long time State Farm insurance adjustor (the same insurer we were suing), and the risk manager for a major international retail chain who dealt with injury claims daily.
Despite this huge disadvange for our client, the jury's verdict was double the amount of the State Farm policyholder's insurance policy. This case demonstrates a very serious problem in today's insurance market - insurers who refuse to make a reasonable settlement offer no matter how obvious the injuries, even when the insurer's own expert witness cannot provide sufficient evidence of an alternative cause. Ultimately the delay of 5 1/2 years allowed State Farm to hold and invest the money throughout that period leading to investment profits.
Too often jurors hear about frivolous lawsuits, but this is yet another case of a frivolous defense with no reasonable offer made before trial. If you have a Washington brain injury case, or Washington serious injury case where a small offer has been made, call us at (503) 227-1233 for a free consultation.