The J. Stein Law Firm recently represented a lovely elderly couple who live in Roswell, Ga. Our client came to us and asked an extremely hard question: “I have been badly hurt and I have mounting medical bills. Should I sue my friend and next-door neighbor?”
Like many of us, the last thing we want to do is get involved in a disagreement with a friend or neighbor. Here, our client was left with no choice. Why? Because her neighbor’s insurance company, State Farm, refused to acknowledge their policy holder had made a series of bad choices that led to our client becoming hurt on her property. Despite knowing this, State Farm denied our client’s claim and basically said “So, sue me”.
It was embarrassing for our client to even talk to us about what happened let alone think about suing her friend and neighbor. Our client was cat sitting for her neighbor when she received a call asking for her return the cat. It was at night and dark. Our client put on her shoes and walked to her neighbor’s house to return the cat. Her neighbor did not turn on any outside lights.
As our client was walking away from the house after returning the cat, her right foot tripped over a raised-up portion of the walkway that she could not see and did not know was there. This caused her to violently fall to the ground. In the process, she wound up with two black eyes, broken eyeglasses, a broken kneecap and a broken shoulder. She had to crawl home for her husband to drive her straight to the hospital – where she was admitted for 8 days.
Our client’s neighbor came to the hospital, apologized for what happened and said “I knew that lip was there, it was on my list of things to fix but I just have not gotten around yet to do it. I am sorry you tripped over it”. Her neighbor said the same thing to our client’s husband a few days later.
Under Georgia law, knowledge of a hazard is of paramount importance in successfully proving a fall case like this against a property owner. State Farm knows that. Yet still, denied our client’s case.
Our client followed our instructions to file a lawsuit, as hard as it may be to do, against her friend and neighbor. We explained how the recovery we would be seeking for her would come from State Farm, not her neighbor’s pocket.
State Farm litigated the case against her for almost a year. They hired lawyers who took depositions and obtained documents and looked into our clients background. We accumulated the evidence that showed State Farm what they already knew – they were going to lose the case. We then presented our case at a mediation which resulted in a six figure settlement for our client that will pay for all of her medical bills and compensate her for the tremendous pain and suffering that she experienced.
So moral of the story – Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is there….. you just may have to sue them first and show them why are going to lose.