A Gainesville attorney reached a $2 million settlement Sept. 17 for a man seriously injured in a 2016 Hall County wreck on Interstate 985 after a driver made a U-turn on the highway, according to court documents.
Attorney Matthew Cook said it was a battle for years since the original June 2017 filing in Gwinnett County for his client, Marcella Daniels. The $2 million amount is the insurance policy limit in liability coverage for bodily injury claims.
“When you have a serious injury, it’s really devastating to your life,” Cook said. “This guy not only lost his career, he lost his life insurance policy he had for years because he couldn’t pay premiums.”
The case concerned a May 10, 2016, wreck on the northbound interstate, where a man hired by a Toyota dealership was driving a truck in the fast lane, Cook said.
“The fellow was apparently not familiar with the fact that the dealership had moved from the last time he had been over here,” Cook said.
The driver then braked and made a U-turn through the grass median, according to the lawsuit.
“Thankfully, some folks on the southbound side got a description of his vehicle. … But for those Good Samaritans, we would have never known who had wrecked our client’s life,” Cook said.
Daniels, who was visiting family, had to brake to avoid striking the truck, leading to Daniels being rear-ended by another driver, according to the lawsuit.
Daniels suffered severe back pain and was immediately transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center. He later had surgery for his back and neck while accruing more than $300,000 in medical expenses.
A lawsuit was filed against the other two drivers and the automotive group employing the truck driver.
Cook said a report from the hired medical expert had an error that made it appear Daniels was disabled before the wreck, which Cook said was corrected after he questioned the expert.
“I see this all the time: People have an injury imposed upon them through no fault of their own, then the insurance company wants to put you and your medical history on trial after they’ve upset your life,” Cook said.
Attorneys W. Allan Myers and April Rich, who were representing the other drivers and automotive group, did not immediately return a call for comment Wednesday, Sept. 23.