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Bernie Brannon obtained a favorable verdict for his client

Bernie Brannan obtained a favorable verdict for his client, a underinsured motorist carrier, after a settlement had been reached against the tortfeasor, in a car accident case. Of two plaintiffs, one claimed that the accident caused him to suffer pain to his neck and lower back from an acute cervical sprain and acute lumbar strain. He also claimed to have had injuries to his knees and a triangular fibrocartilage complex tear of his right wrist. The right wrist injury resulted in a surgery. The other plaintiff claimed to have endured a loss of consortium as a result of her husband’s injuries, specifically from his inability to do chores around the house and a decrease in the frequency of their intimacy. At trial, the insurance company offered two defenses: first, that one plaintiff had signed a form rejecting uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage; and, second that the Plaintiffs had failed to notify their carrier of their intent to settle. Plaintiffs claimed that the uninsured/underinsured rejection form was a forgery. Plaintiffs each took the stand and the deposition of the insurance companies 30(b)(6) representative was read. They offered expert testimony from an orthopedic doctor who performed the plaintiff’s wrist surgery, and a questioned document examiner. The doctor testified by way of deposition that the accident caused plaintiff’s wrist injury and resulted in his surgery. He also testified that the plaintiff’s total retail medical charges of $58,893.28 were reasonable and necessary. The document examiner testified that the signature on the uninsured/underinsured rejection form did not match the signatures provided to him by the plaintiff. The insurance company called another questioned document examiner as its expert. This examiner rebutted the plaintiff’s examiners testimony and opined that the signature on the uninsured/underinsured rejection form was signed by the plaintiff. This examiner was the defendant’s only witness. The Etowah County jury received the case on the afternoon of Thursday, February 22, 2018. After deliberating for nearly three hours, they adjourned for the evening and reconvened the following morning. After another two hours of deliberation, they returned a verdict in favor of one plaintiff for $7,500.00 and a defense verdict against the other plaintiff. Judge Day applied the $50,000.00 set off from the settlement with the tortfeasor and entered a judgment in favor of the insurer on both Plaintiffs’ claims.

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