Jury Verdict Key to Million dollar Recovery for Deserving Girl
When little Jane Doe had her leg mangled by a lawnmower, the homeowner’s insurance company denied coverage for the accident. Seven years later, after several lawsuits and appeals and one crucial jury verdict, the insurance company finally paid not just its policy limits, but almost ten times that amount because it did not handle the claim in good faith. The bad faith settlement, together with a separate recovery for the defective design of the lawnmower, gives Jane over a million dollars to help her overcome the tragedies of her young life.
Jane was conceived when her mother was only 13, but her prospects improved right after her birth when her mother married a kind and hard-working young man. Then tragedy struck one afternoon when Jane’s stepdad took her and her mother with him to do some work on his parent’s property.
While her mom went back to the pickup to get Jane’s wagon, Jane, who had just learned to walk, went running after the mower. She tripped and fell just as her stepdad was trying to back out of a tight spot. The mower blade mutilated her right leg, which ultimately had to be amputated.
Jane’s aunt brought her and her mother to Pajcic & Pajcic, but her mother could not cope with the situation and soon divorced and left the state. Pajcic & Pajcic helped Jane’s great grandparents James and Daisy Doe adopt Jane. Their unselfish love and Jane’s indomitable spirit have helped Jane make it through multiple surgeries over a seven-year period.
Based on the lawnmower’s failure to have “no mow in reverse,” Pajcic & Pajcic was able to secure a reasonable settlement in the suit against the lawnmower manufacturer. However, the homeowner’s insurance company refused to settle because it claimed that Jane’s stepfather was not covered by its policy.
At trial in the coverage case, the question for the jury was whether Jane’s stepdad was still a resident of his parents’ household. The defense stressed that he had not lived with his parents for several years, and was married, employed and financially independent. Pajcic & Pajcic relied on his youthful age and close relationship with his parents along with his driver’s license, truck title and voter registration, which still used his parents’ address.
After the jury verdict the insurance company tendered its limits, but it was too late. The case was ultimately resolved for almost ten times the limits at mediation in the underlying tort case.
The recoveries not only helped pay for Jane’s extensive medical care, but have also given her a wheelchair accessible house, money for college and a lifetime annuity.
Everyone who met Jane, even hardened defense attorneys and adjusters, was won over by her doe-like eyes and bashful smile and wishes her all the best in the future.