Helping people, especially with court cases, is what we do every day at Abrams Landau. So we have, on occasion, assisted an individual or small business on the other end of a lawsuit.
While the vast majority of clients of the Herndon law firm Abrams Landau, Ltd. have been injured through no fault of their own, Doug Landau has helped other folks who themselves are being sued unfairly.
Landau does not do any insurance company defense work. However, there are cases where an individual Defendant is sued, and he or she does not have insurance. There are also situations where a person is being sued for more than the insurance policy limits. In these instances, Landau has occasionally stepped in and represented them to protect them from a verdict in excess of their insurance coverage. An “excess verdict” would leave these people exposed to personal financial exposure.
One such example is a recent case for which the Final Court Order just came across Landau’s desk. In that case, a woman was accused of having struck a motorcycle rider, causing extensive injuries. The woman had insurance coverage through Nationwide Insurance, however the insurance staff attorneys advised her that since she was being sued for a lot more money than she had in coverage, she may want to get her own legal counsel. This Defendant, a schoolteacher, was not sure she could trust the insurance company or the lawyers assigned to her case. This public school teacher was concerned that with several hundreds of files at any one time, the insurance lawyers would not be “on her side. ”
Therefore, she contacted Landau, who engaged in pretrial discovery, asked penetrating questions at the plaintiff’s deposition, and with other investigative tools, learned that the plaintiff has had several other bike crashes (both before and after this accident). The accident in question was really just a tap that caused the biker to be more upset about the scratch on his new bike. There was very little property damage at the scene to the bike, and no damage to the car. Nevertheless the motorcyclist brought suit for several hundred thousand dollars with the urging of some advertising injury firm from Richmond.
Landau was able to dissect the plaintiff’s story, causing him to retreat from many of the claims he had been making about alleged wage loss. Landau, in defending the school teacher, showed that the plaintiff changed jobs multiple times. He also had evidence that the biker had injuries prior and subsequent to this minor accident. In the subsequent motorcycle crash, the biker flipped over the guard rail, sustaining permanent injuries.
All told, the case settled for less than the policy limits. The Defendant paid no money out of pocket, as would have been the case had there been an “excess verdict.” The schoolteacher did not have to go to court, and the case has now been closed.
If you or someone you care for is being sued for more money than their insurance provides, and they have assets or other “excess exposure,” consider having “personal counsel” in addition to the lawyers picked and paid for by the insurance company. Please e-mail or call us at ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. (703-796-9555) at once.