Before a violent car crash changed her life, *Kathleen Thomas was a busy, athletic 42-year-old mother of three. A successful medical professional at a Jacksonville hospital, she kept a full schedule between her kids, her career, and her active lifestyle. But all of that changed when she was violently rear-ended in October of 2019. Suffering severe pain from the moment of the crash, Kathleen was transported to the hospital to be examined. Her initial scans showed bone spurs in her neck as well as small herniations. After her discharge, Kathleen went home and began to follow her doctor’s orders, attending physical therapy and undergoing uncomfortable trigger point injections to get some relief from her debilitating neck and back pain.
Her Treatments Were Shut Down
Then COVID hit and non-emergency medical services shut down. Kathleen was forced to stop her treatments, so she began exercising and stretching on her own at home. She also began to fear that if she didn’t make efforts to keep moving, she may never be able to return to the active lifestyle she had enjoyed. Once she was able to return to her doctor, she was told that her condition had worsened, and she now needed more invasive, painful facet injections. Despite her ongoing pain management treatments, doctors saw no signs of recovery and recommended that she undergo major surgery to fuse parts of her spine. At that time, Kathleen was facing a two-level disc replacement in her neck. Like many people, she chose to postpone the surgery and the risks involved as long as possible. However, without surgical intervention, her neurosurgeon advised that her career would most likely be cut short due to her debilitating injuries.
Loss of Income, Mounting Medical Bills and Chronic Pain
The potential loss of income, the mounting medical bills for her pain treatment and her chronic pain sent Kathleen to the legal team at Coker Law. Her insurance company GEICO offered her a total settlement of only $500,000. Since that amount would need to help Kathleen pay for current and future medical costs, future pain and suffering, and defray her potential loss of income for herself and her children, her attorneys at Coker Law knew that amount would not be enough. “Insurance companies are incentivized to settle a claim for as low as they can,” said Coker Law Shareholder Dan Iracki. “We know the long road our clients have ahead of them because of their injuries. We know that their pain may never go away and that future surgeries will run in the tens of thousands of dollars, that their current income and future income is jeopardized, and their quality of life is changed forever.”
Coker Law Legal Team Convinces Jury
The Coker Law legal team took Kathleen’s case to court. During the two-week trial, the defense team for GEICO Insurance Company, led by experienced trial defense attorney Michael Glass of Stone, Glass, & Connolly, argued that this was a neck sprain-strain that resolved around the same time she stopped treating, telling the jury to award her only $27,000. The Coker Law legal team was able to show the jury that although Kathleen had some unavoidable lapses in her treatments, she had done what she could at home to address the chronic and increasing pain from the crash. She fought through pain daily as she tried to resume her normal activities, and her recovery time was longer and more painful than prior to her injury. The experienced team at Coker Law, along with their insight into how insurance companies present their cases, made them ideally prepared to convince the jury that Kathleen was entitled to the compensation she needed to keep her life moving forward now and into an uncertain future after suffering a catastrophic injury.
Case Title: *Kathleen Thomas vs. GEICO Insurance Company
Attorney/Staff Involved in the Case: Shareholders Daniel Iracki, Chelsea Harris, Aaron Sprague, Founding Partner Howard Coker and Of Counsel Rufus Pennington. Paralegals Leigh-Anne Morrill, Laura Wiese, Trial Coordinator Evie Jackson-Thomas, Trial Technician and Media Coordinator Alec Morrill.