Firm Wins Jury Award for Man Caught in Insurance Dispute
“My attorneys never doubted me. Their belief in me was a major factor in the jury’s decision. They always gave me the straight facts and kept me informed.” …Walter Pace
A Clay County jury recently found for Jacksonville resident Walter Pace in his suit against a motorist who had fallen asleep at the wheel and crashed into the back of his vehicle. The verdict was 21 times greater than the final offer made by the State Farm adjuster, who insured the driver at fault.
State Farm staked out its position on the case during Mr. Pace’s first conversation with this adjuster, who took a hostile, “take it or leave it” stance. He told Walter that he did not believe he was injured in the accident and that he would make sure there was no settlement offered in the case. “He told me that he was going to make an example of me by forcing me to go to trial — which he was sure I would lose,” said Walter Pace.
It all began in July of 2002 in Green Cove Springs, Florida as Walter and his family were traveling on US 17 on their way to teach vacation bible school in nearby Switzerland. Walter Pace was sitting in the back seat while his wife drove, allowing one of his children to ride “shotgun.” John Moore, a construction worker, was traveling behind the Pace vehicle. Moore had gotten up before dawn to work at his job site and then he went surfing. When he reached Green Cove Springs, he fell asleep at the wheel, accelerated, and crashed into the back of the Pace vehicle.
Our investigation revealed that Walter had a previous neck condition that was in no way bothersome prior to the accident, but had now become significantly worse. After the accident, Mr. Pace had to struggle to approach his old level of physical activity. A sole proprietor and master artisan in a business engaged in handcrafting control panels for sewage and wastewater management systems, Walter found it increasingly difficult after the accident to do the work that had previously been his source of income. He had lost his biggest client and seen his earnings decrease dramatically each year. By 2005, Walter’s income was less than half of what it had been in the years preceding the accident.
Convinced that State Farm’s position was grossly unfair to Mr. Pace, our firm took the case to trial. They believed Walter Pace and they believed in his case. The jury saw their passion and, in the end, they too believed Walter Pace. “This case illustrates the type of treatment by insurance companies we see all too frequently,” said Attorney Rick Alexander. “It also shows how the jury system can work to vindicate a real victim, even though he is denied by an insurance company.”