As Jacksonville insurance claim lawyers, we regularly represent homeowners whose insurance companies unfairly adjust their property damage claims. Often, insurers will offer small amounts to resolve a property damage claim, and then persuade the homeowners to sign a release of their claim prior to repairs even being made. Insurers make a point of doing all of this quickly, so that the homeowners do not obtain legal representation until it is too late.
In one recent case, a family’s home was extensively damaged in Hurricane Irma. Irma’s high winds ripped the ridge cap off the roof, threw debris into the roof and exterior walls, and even peeled back portions of siding. The winds and pressure changes also damaged the frames around the home’s windows. All of this damage to the outside of the home then allowed water to enter the interior of the home, causing further damage to the walls, flooring, and baseboards. Even electrical wiring, including the circuit breaker box, sustained water damage.
Prior to our firm’s involvement, the insurance company paid the homeowners just over $4,000.00 to repair their home. However, the insurer underestimated the cost of repairs, and also failed to include all covered repairs necessary to return the home to its pre-loss condition, which was required by the insurance policy.
Once our insurance claim lawyers took over, a lawsuit was filed and discovery requests were served on the insurer. Additionally, our team coordinated with a water remediation company to determine what was needed to dry out the home. We then worked with several different builders and attended multiple inspections at the home to determine exactly what repairs would be needed after the water remediation was complete.
We also worked with an expert private insurance adjuster to accurately price out the repairs. Finally, we assisted the family with compiling receipts for supplies the homeowners had purchased to make repairs themselves. The insurer had never offered to reimburse the homeowners for those out of pocket expenses.
At the same time suit was filed, the homeowners took new jobs out of state, and moved away. As part of our work in the case, our attorneys located a prominent local realtor to view the home and determine if the clients should list the home prior to making repairs or after. The realtor recommended that repairs be made prior to listing the home. This made an efficient handling of the case even more important so that we could get funds for our clients so they could finish the necessary repairs and sell the home.
Once we filed suit and served the insurer, settlement negotiations began. Our lawyers submitted estimates to the insurer that itemized every needed repair, and the price that it would actually cost to make each repair. The insurer ultimately agreed to pay over $37,000 to the homeowners to resolve the case. Following the settlement, our clients immediately began repairs. They were able to complete all the required work, list the home, and secure a buyer within just a few weeks.
Under Florida law, when an insurance company unfairly denies or underpays a property damage claim, resulting in a lawsuit, the homeowners are entitled both to the cost of their needed repairs, and also their attorneys’ fees and costs. Therefore, throughout the course of our representation of the homeowners, our team kept careful track of our time and expenses so that our fees and costs would be paid in addition to our clients’ recovery from the insurer. At the end of the case, the insurer paid over $7,000 in fees and costs to our lawyers.Firm Settles Car Accident Case for $600,000 With a Driver Who Had Only $25,000 in Bodily Injury Coverage
When an insurance company makes an unfair settlement offer, it is important to have a law firm ready willing and able to file suit and bring your case to trial. A recent personal injury settlement negotiated by our lawyers in a Jacksonville car accident case illustrates the importance of filing suit in certain cases.
Our client was injured in a high impact car collision that happened in Jacksonville’s Arlington area. He was on his way to work at the Mayport Navy base when a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction lost control, struck the median and launched into the air striking the front driver’s side of our client’s vehicle.
Within hours of the collision, the client had had to be seen at the emergency room due to neck and back pain. Over time, he treated with a neurologist, Navy doctors, a chiropractor and two pain management doctors. MRI imaging of his neck revealed two small herniated discs. Importantly, the 32 year old client never suffered from neck pain before the crash.
The at-fault driver had $25,000.00 in bodily injury insurance coverage. Before filing suit, the insurer for that driver only offered our client $9,000 to settle his claim. Because the client provided that insurer the opportunity to settle the claim for the $25,000 policy limit, the basis for a bad faith claim was put in place.
A bad faith claim against an at-fault driver’s insurer is premised on the idea that the insurer exposed the at-fault driver to a very large verdict when that insurer could have settled the claim within its driver’s insurance limits, and, if the insurer had acted fairly and reasonably, would have done so. We believed the $9,000 offer was neither fair nor reasonable.
In a bad faith scenario, if a jury awards the injured person an amount greater than the policy limit, the injured person can file a second lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver’s insurer seeking the full amount of the judgment regardless of the policy limit.
After we filed suit, the insurer began raising the prospect of paying the $25,000 policy limit; however, by that point it was too late. We proceeded towards trial and even began picking a jury when we encountered a mistrial due to inflammatory comments made by one of the prospective jurors.
The case was reset for trial. A few days before trial, the insurer, recognizing its exposure for a large bad faith verdict, agreed to pay $600,000 to settle the case. Long before that, the client’s own auto insurer paid his full uninsured motorist coverage.Greg Lawrence Recognized as “Legal Elite” by Florida Trend Magazine
On June 25, 2018, Mr. Lawrence received the honor of being recognized as one of Florida Trend’s Florida Legal Elite in the field of civil trial law. Only one percent of active Florida attorneys are awarded with this designation. The winners are chosen based on input solicited from all Florida Bar members.Firm Attorney Kasey Wagner Elected to Board of Directors of The Jacksonville Justice Association
The firm proudly announces that attorney Kasey Wagner was recently elected to serve a multi-year term on the Board of Directors of the Jacksonville Justice Association, a local non-profit organization of civil justice attorneys who represent people who have been injured by the negligence of others. The JJA assists local attorneys by providing resources like continued legal education seminars, networking opportunities, and a deposition and legal document database. Kasey is excited to get more involved with JJA and help her colleagues pursue the rights of injured people in Northeast Florida.$1,950,000.00 Forklift Accident Settlement
Our client was working as a truck driver delivering bundled pipes to a warehouse. A warehouse employee began removing the pipes from his flatbed trailer with a forklift. As each layer of pipe bundles was unloaded, our client removed the four by fours (known in the industry as "dunnage") separating the pipe bundles. As our client bent down to store the dunnage under the trailer, the forklift operator, who was located on the other side of the trailer, attempted to load another bundle of pipes onto the forklift. Unfortunately, the forklift operator did not place the forks low enough and pushed the bundle of pipes instead of inserting the forks underneath the pipes. This, in turn, caused the bundle of pipes on the other side of the trailer to fall off of the trailer landing on our client's leg. Our client suffered a severely comminuted fracture of his tibial plateau and the "degloving" of much of the skin from his foot. He had to endure reconstructive surgery and skin grafting. Due to infection, one of his toes had to be amputated. Through this tremendous ordeal, our client maintained a tremendously positive attitude and went back to work. Since he could no longer drive a truck, he started a new career working in the mortgage industry. Due to his injuries, he has permanent physical limitations that prevent him from running or walking long distances. He also faces the likelihood of a knee replacement in the future. Our lawyers hired a medical doctor to prepare a life care plan in order to calculate his future medical expenses.Law Firm of the Month by Attorney at Law Magazine
Our law firm has been featured in the October Edition as the Law Firm of the Month by the Attorney at Law Magazine. Click here to read the article.Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawsuit Settled
Our client contacted us two years ago after another law firm turned down a nursing home malpractice case involving his mother. When he came to us, his focus was on one aspect of care that he thought was substandard. Once we reviewed the records we found numerous areas of serious neglect including: the nurses charted entries for days that the resident was not even at the nursing home; the facility failed to obtain numerous medical consultations despite being ordered to do so; the facility was understaffed, leaving the nurses unaware of our resident’s particular medical conditions and concerns; the facility failed to provide working equipment for suctioning and maintaining her airway; the staff called non-emergency medical transportation when 911 should have been called; and the nurses performed CPR in a completely ineffective manner given our resident’s particular medical conditions. As a result, our client’s mother suffered a heart attack with severe brain damage and eventual death. The money received will do nothing to soothe our client’s loss of his mother. However, it is the only way we know of to get the attention of the owner of the nursing home, which, in this instance, is a large national chain. Things will only change when providing substandard care actually costs more than nursing home owners save by not hiring enough nurses. Our client can hold his head high knowing that he stood up for his mother and all of the other residents of this nursing home.Firm Attorney Kasey Wagner Appointed to Board of Directors of Three Rivers Legal Services
The firm is proud to announce that attorney Kasey Wagner has been appointed to serve on the Board of Directors of Three Rivers Legal Services, Inc. The non-profit corporation based out of Gainesville provides free civil legal services to low-income, eligible clients in seventeen counties throughout North Florida. Three Rivers' mission is to provide quality legal assistance to the poor, abused, disabled, and elderly of North Florida and to empower and educate them through preventive legal education. As a member of Three Rivers' Board of Directors, Kasey will help lead the group as it accomplishes its important work, and will serve as a liaison between the group and the Jacksonville Bar Association. Specifically, Three Rivers services low-income clients in the following counties: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Nassau, St. Johns, Suwannee, Taylor, and Union. Kasey is excited about the opportunity to assist Three Rivers, and feels that her Board membership will mesh well with her work for the firm on behalf of victims of nursing home negligence and abuse.$1,000,000.00 Malpractice Settlement
Our firm settled our client's malpractice claim for the defendants' full insurance policy limit of $1,000,000.00. The settlement was reached without having to file suit. Our comprehensive pre-suit demand package convinced the insurer that, if the matter was not settled, a very large verdict in favor of our client was likely.Firm Represents Family of Victim of Mayo Clinic Helicopter Accident - Press Release
Press Release - For Immediate Distribution
STATEMENT OF THE FAMILY OF DAVID HINES
The Lawrence Law Group, along with the firm of Spohrer & Dodd, P.A., represents the three children of David Hines, a member of the Mayo Clinic's transplant team, who tragically died in the helicopter accident earlier this week.
The family is, of course, devastated by his passing. Mr. Hines was an extraordinarily unselfish and giving person. He died doing what he loved to do most - trying to help others. The family gives its heartfelt prayers to the members of the other families who have suffered from this tragic event.
Service arrangements have been made as follows:
The wake will be Monday, January 2, 2012, from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Beaches Chapel by Hardage-Giddens, 1701 Beach Boulevard, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250.
The service will be Tuesday, January 3, 2012, at 12:30 p.m. at Chets Creek Church, 4420 Hodges Boulevard, Jacksonville, FL 32224.
The burial will be Tuesday, January 3, 2012, at 2:30 p.m. at the National Cemetary, 4083 Lannie Road, Jacksonville, FL 32218. At the burial, the Air Force Honor Guard Unit from Moody Air Force Base will be honoring Mr. Hines with a 21 gun salute.
The family asks that its privacy be respected during this time of tremendous grief.
The Lawrence Law Group, P. A.
Gregory A. Lawrence, Esq.Recovery Made for Injured Man Suffering From Alzheimer's
Our client suffered facial injuries due to a fall while he was lost near downtown Jacksonville. The client was a resident of an assisted living facility here in Jacksonville. Most weekdays he was escorted from the ALF to adult day care. Medicaid transportation was arranged through a private transportation broker and a cab company that holds itself out as one that caters to persons with medical or special needs. Unfortunately, the ALF's report to the broker that the man had to be escorted into the day care facility due to his confusion and ability to get lost was not communicated to the driver and our client was let out at the curb. After several hours, he was found on the streets with serious injuries, presumably due to a fall. The recovery will assist the man with his ongoing needs.$1.6 Million Settlement
The Lawrence Law Group, P.A., was hired by a woman seriously injured in a workplace accident when her foot was run over by a forklift. Although the broken bones in her foot healed well, she developed a serious nerve injury called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy ("RSD"). Through an exhaustive investigation we were able to prove that the person driving the forklift was using cocaine and was allowed to operate the forklift despite failing his employer's safety quiz about forklift operation. The settlement will allow our client to pay her medical bills and replace her significant lost wages.Trial Victory
A Duval County jury ruled in favor of our client and awarded her a recovery in excess of $235,000.00 for injuries resulting from an automobile accident. The defendant attempted to turn left across oncoming traffic. He did so directly in front of our client's vehicle causing a "t-bone" collision. The defendant claimed that our client must have been speeding because he thought he had enough time to clear the intersection. Using exhibits and photographs, the attorneys of The Lawrence Law Group, P.A., were able to demonstrate to the jury that the accident was not our client's fault, even if she was driving slightly faster than the speed limit. The defendant's insurer offered only $130,000.00 to settle the case prior to trial.Appellate Victory
Sometimes winning a trial is not the end of a case. We proved to a jury that the driver of another car was completely at fault for an automobile accident and, as a result, our client was awarded a significant recovery. The other driver appealed, arguing that our client had to be at least partially at fault for the accident. The First District Court of Appeal ruled in our client's favor and upheld the jury's verdict. Although justice for our client was delayed, it was not denied.$625,000.00 Settlement For RSD Injury to Teenager's Foot
Our client was only 16 years old when she suffered serious personal injury to her foot while being housed at a rural boarding school near Jacksonville, Florida. She suffered a crush injury to her foot while she was being required to participate in the butchering of a large hog. The apparatus used to lift the hog off of the ground fell and landed on her foot. Although she only suffered a moderate injury to the bones in her foot, as is often the case, the crush nature of the injury caused reflex sympathetic dystrophy to set in. "RSD" is a debilitating neurological injury that causes serious permanent complications including severe pain and loss of bone density, among other debilitating symptoms. Thankfully, the permanent implantation of an electric stimulator has greatly reduced her pain. We were able to prove the boarding home was negligent in the manner in which the hog was being hoisted and for failing to properly supervise the operation.Firm Teams With Searcy, Denney Firm in Boating Accident Case
The Lawrence Law Group has teamed with the prestigious West Palm Beach law firm Searcy Denney, Scarola, Barnhart and Shipley for the handling of a wrongful death case resulting from a boating accident. The accident happened in Biscayne Bay, Florida, when two racing style boats collided at a high rate of speed.$1,000,000.00 Settlement
Our firm successfully represented the mother of a teenager killed in a tragic accident. We immediately filed suit and through our investigation learned that there was a $1,000,000.00 insurance policy. The insurer initially refused to pay the policy proceeds claiming that the insurance policy did not cover this sort of accident. We prevailed by demonstrating that, if the insurance company was correct, then almost no type of accident would be covered, meaning that the insurance was essentially worthless. Prior to hiring The Lawrence Law Group, P.A., several other law firms turned down the case.