James William Fairley and Kim Fairley v. Schiber Truck et al

Steven M. Gursten

Case Conclusion Date:December 15, 2010

Practice Area:Trucking Accident

Outcome:$3.5 million verdict

Description:This verdict was only for the pain and suffering of a 56-year-old man involved in a truck accident, with a corporate defendant. It is said to be the highest Jackson County jury verdict for an auto accident case. Defendant insurance company Zurich took the position that the "conservative" Jackson, Michigan jury would not award significant pain and suffering damages, and essentially forced the case to trial. The highest defense offer was $1 million before and during trial. We argued “chronic pain syndrome” throughout the 1 ½ week trial, and tactically waived an excess economic loss claim, where the Plaintiff was on Social Security Disability, so there would be no collateral source reductions from the verdict amount. The parties agreed to waive appeal in exchange for plaintiffs agreement on the last day of trial to cap the verdict at the defendant's insurance policy limits. In the accident, the Plaintiff's mini-van was rear-ended by defendant truck and pushed into another oncoming truck, causing Plaintiff's injuries. The injuries sustained were traumatic brain injury, depression and two fractured vertebrae.