Jessica M. Byrnes v. Carleigh Warfield

Lars A. Lundeen

Case Conclusion Date:February 22, 2010

Practice Area:Personal Injury

Outcome:$100,000.00 Policy Limit Settlement

Description:Ms. Byrnes was a passenger in a vehicle driven by an acquaintence, Ms. Warfield, who was insured under a NY State auto liability policy issued to her father. Ms. Warfield drove too quickly on icy road conditions here in VT, causing her vehicle to slide off the road and overturn on its side. While Ms. Byrnes was seatbelted, Ms. Warfield was not, and she fell from the driver's position behind the wheel onto Ms. Byrnes' left arm, severely fracturing it. After about six months there was still nonunion of the initial comminuted fracture, ultimately resulting in ORIF surgery. Jessica was left with a slight arm deformity and a 17 cm. hypertrophic sugical scar which could be improved with plastic surgery. Investigation by our office revealed that Ms. Warfield had been drinking before the incident and had turned down a friend's offer to allow her to sleep at the friend's house rather than drive. Investigation also revealed that Ms. Warfield had previously been ticketed in NYS for not wearing a seat belt. VT law also required Ms. Warfield to be belted at the time of this crash. Ms. Byrnes had approx. $24,000 in medical bills, which were paid by NYS PIP coverage and lost earnings of approx. $6,000, also covered by PIP. The carrier's maximum pre-suit offer was $48,000. Based on our office's recommendation, our client rejected the offer and our office filed suit, alleging compensatory as well as punitive damages, based on our investigation results. The carrier soon agreed to pay the entire $100,000.00 policy limit.

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