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Accident Lawyer Gets $1 Million Verdict for Client with Leg Injury

December 9, 2008 by Steven M. Gursten

An attorney from Michigan Auto Law has obtained a $1 million jury verdict for his client, who sustained a severe leg injury and traumatic scarring in an auto accident. The 2008 case is yet another example of the many substantial verdicts — and settlements — that our personal injury lawyers garner on behalf of clients who are injured or killed in car accidents, truck accidents and motorcycle accidents every day on Michigan roads.

Here are the details of the case, Venegas v. Amerisure, et al. in Livingston County Circuit Court: Plaintiff Linzie Venegas was vacuuming her car at the the Lee Road Soft Cloth Car Wash in Green Oak Township when Wesley Gene Jones struck her car from the rear and pinned her between the vacuum and the car. Her leg was fractured and badly scarred. Venegas returned to work about five months later.

Jones claimed that Venegas was not near her car, and thus did not qualify for underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. The defense was determined to appeal a plaintiff ruling, and had attempted to appeal on the occupancy issue.

Jones also settled shortly before trial for the $100,000 insurance policy limit, but because Venegas had a $1 million UIM policy, that left $900,000 available under that policy.

After two hours of deliberations, the jury agreed that Venegas was the occupant of the car, but there was a question as to whether the jury had to award the entire $900,000 UIM policy. The parties quickly settled for $700,000 and avoided an appeal, but the jury verdict was taken by the court anyway, and the entire policy was awarded to Venegas.

The highest offer from the defense was $250,000. With that, this case perfectly illustrates the way in which underinsured motorist coverage can protect an individual when he or she is injured in a Michigan accident.

More on Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)

For more information about underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) and uninsured motorist coverage (UM), please watch the video below. Lawrence Gursten, senior partner of the law firm, urges Michigan drivers to protect themselves with such coverage and explains the benefits and the risks of not having the policies in place.

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2 Replies to “Accident Lawyer Gets $1 Million Verdict for Client with Leg Injury”

  1. Congrats on Venegas result. I am a NY pltf personal injury lawyer and am starting a blog this week on pain and suffering damages – analyzing how amounts are arrived at for different specific injuries. I am considering incuding your post on the Venegas case but to do so will need to know: to what extent was the recovery for pain and suffring only (and to what extent others such as wages, med exp, etc.)? Can you give me a bit about the disability – limp, past and future surgery, what part of leg and what type of fracture. I will need this info today or tomw if I am going to use it in a post. Thanks and let’s keep in touch. – John Hochfeler, 81 Main Street, White Plains, NY 10601 914-686-0900

  2. John;
    This client suffered a floating knee where the femur was completely fractured above the knee, and the tib/fib were completely fractured below the knee. She lost about 80% of her calf muscle mass, and is left with a really bad scar that is about 6 x 9 inches where her calf should be. She is an attractive 20something who cannot wear pants, shorts, swimsuits, etc., and cannot jog or ski. She did return to work after about 5 months, but has a sales job that is not physically demanding. She has less than 90 degrees of range of motion left in that leg, which is surprisingly debilitating if you analyze it closely. The defense had a decent argument to appeal: the issue was whether she was an “occupant” of the car since she was actually outside of the car when she was struck.

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