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It was a Sunday afternoon, in March of 2012, and Ray Roebuck was already thinking of the next afternoon he could spend on the golf course. An avid golfer, the course was where he felt most at home. In fact, it was where he and his son Seth had some of their most meaningful conversations and memorable times together. It was where they talked about life, Seth’s future and what it took to grow up to be a good man.
All of that was put in jeopardy in a split second when a driver careened into the side of Ray’s car sending him slamming into the guard rail on the interstate. Within days, the pain from the impact worsened and spread from his neck, down his back and radiated into his arm. Doctors told him he would need surgery, a spinal cord stimulator and pain management treatment for the rest of his life. This was a heartbreaking diagnosis. Not only would it impact his ability to spend that valuable time with Seth on the course, but his ability to earn a living was now at risk. Ray was an attorney who owned his own law firm. He had employees and a family that counted on him.
SO MUCH AT STAKE
So as a lawyer, Ray filed a claim against the other driver’s insurance company to cover the costs of treating his permanent injuries and lost wages. The insurance company denied his request, claiming since his car was not badly damaged, his injuries could not be that bad. They also asserted that if Ray could play golf again, he was not in pain. Ray knew he had a fight on his hands, and it would be a tough one. He knew that, because he was a defense lawyer for insurance companies.
With so much at stake, he contacted Coker Law. He had gone up against their attorneys in previous cases when he represented insurance companies and they represented crash victims. “I have known and litigated against Howard Coker and Dan Iracki for years,” said Ray. “I have seen how they prepare their clients and cases for trial and have always been impressed by their depth of knowledge and level of preparation.”
“There is no greater compliment than being asked by a colleague, who is usually on the opposing side, to represent them in their time of need,” said firm partner Daniel Iracki. Their first step in representing Ray was to convince jurors that just because his car wasn’t totaled, didn’t mean he didn’t suffer. The firm brought in a bio mechanical engineer to demonstrate the force of the impact and how Ray’s body absorbed the violent energy of the crash.
The next challenge, Coker Law attorneys tackled, was surveillance video taken by insurance company attorneys of Ray attempting to play golf. The team at Coker Law convinced jurors there was no way Ray was keeping off the golf course because he refused to let the crash, or his injuries keep him from what he loved. They were able to prove he suffered pain with each swing and his group would often stop in mid-play, so he could recover enough to continue. Finally, they addressed the issue of his substantial loss of wages. Between surgeries, recovery, treatments and chronic pain those long arduous work days needed to run a successful law firm were no longer an option. “The accident changed my dad’s life forever,” said Seth. “It spans from little things, such as using mirrors in driving to avoid turning his head while changing lanes, to having bad days when it is hard for him to function throughout the day.”
JURY AWARDS PERSISTENCE
The highest offer the insurance company made to Ray was $50,000, but the jury agreed with Coker Law and awarded Ray more than $2.5 million dollars. They took into account the cost of his medical expenses, his lost wages, along with his permanent pain and suffering. “The Roebuck case was a long hard-fought battle,” said firm partner Howard Coker. “It is a testimony to the power of being determined and persistent. It was a pleasure to represent Ray Roebuck. He turned to us for help after his severe spine injury. We were able to achieve a successful outcome and make a friend for life. It doesn’t get any better for a trial lawyer.”
Attorneys/staff involved in case: Daniel Iracki, Howard Coker, Aaron Sprague, Leigh-Anne Morrill,
Date of Jury Verdict: November 27, 2015 verdict, case resolved August 19, 2017
Amount of Jury Verdict: $2,641,811.74.