Garrett v. USAA Insurance - $2,000,752.27
On September 25, 2008, Jon Garrett, a 16-year old Satellite High School
student, was on his way to a swim meet in Melbourne. He was stopped at
the intersection of Babcock Street and Bulldog Avenue in Melbourne, Florida,
in a line of traffic, when he was violently rear-ended by a 2001 Ford
pick-up truck. As a result of the impact, the 1991 Toyota Celica that
Jon was operating was rendered a total loss. As a result of the crash,
he was seriously and permanently injured, suffering a disc herniation
in his neck and his back.
Prior to the time of the crash, Jon was a healthy and very active high
school student. His primary interest was competitive swimming with aspirations
of receiving a Division 1 university swimming scholarship. He was a varsity
swimmer at Satellite High School and was also highly ranked both in the
State of Florida and nationally.
The serious spinal injuries caused significant pain and limited Jon's
ability to move his neck and perform the motions required for swim strokes
and ultimately ended his pursuit to swim competitively and pursue a Division
1 swimming scholarship.
Unfortunately, the driver of the pick-up only maintained $100,000.00 in
bodily injury liability coverage. It became clear very early that Jon’s
injuries were very serious and the amount of liability insurance would
not be sufficient to cover the full extent of his injuries. We, therefore,
looked to USAA, Jon’s uninsured/underinsured carrier. Fortunately,
Jon had another $900,000.00 in UM/UIM insurance benefits. Unfortunately,
USAA was not interested in making a fair or serious effort to reimburse
Jon for the injuries he suffered due to no fault of his own.
Due to USAA’s lack of interest, Jon was forced to file a lawsuit,
and the case proceeded to a jury trial. During jury deliberations, USAA
was given a final opportunity to settle for the available UM/UIM limits.
Again, USAA was not interested, despite having heard all the evidence
at that point. A Brevard County jury returned a verdict in the amount
of $2,000,752.27. The verdict was more than 25% greater than the Proposal
for Settlement that was filed, which placed further financial responsibility
on USAA for attorneys' fees.