ATHENS WOMAN WINS $361K VERDICT FOR CAR WRECK INJURIES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 4, 2018
Media Contact: Kazia Conway
Unanimous Jury Sides With Injured Carlson Law Firm Client
ATHENS, Texas — After a two-day trial that began on April 2 in a Henderson County Court, a six-person jury unanimously found that the proper value of Kelsi Gabbert’s injury claim stemming from a March 2015 car crash was $360,748.42. The verdict included amounts for both medical bills and maintaining her future costs for hearing aids.
On March 17, 2015, Gabbert, a home health nurse, was returning to her office after visiting a patient. She was at a complete stop when she was rear-ended on Main Street in Gun Barrel City, Texas. As a result of the crash, she suffered a concussion, tinnitus and mild hearing loss which left her with more than $20,000 in medical bills.
Despite the swollen bill, Allstate Insurance offered her just $1,500 for her injuries. Gabbert decided instead to hire Attorney Drew Gibbs, a Partner at The Carlson Law Firm, to help her recover proper compensation.
“When Ms. Gabbert wasn’t being helped by any of the insurance companies, our firm decided to step in and make them pay way what they owe,” Gibbs said.
In addition to Allstate’s rock-bottom offer, her injury was initially submitted to her employer’s workers comp insurance. However, they denied the claim—saying she was not covered because she was not on duty. Additionally, her health insurance denied the claim by asserting that she was on duty and the claim belonged to workers’ comp.
“She was stuck dealing with the unnecessary stress created by opportunistic insurance companies at a time when she was already dealing with the consequences of a serious injury and left holding the bag medical bills that should’ve been taken care of,” Gibbs said.
In addition to the Allstate claim, Gabbert submitted a claim to her own car insurance, Texas Farm Bureau, seeking recovery of a $30,000 underinsured motorists policy—which should have kicked in when the claim exceeded the value of the defendant’s policy. Unfortunately, Texas Farm Bureau elected to delay her claim while she pursued a judgment against the defendant at her own expense.
“Unfortunately this is standard procedure in Texas where insurers have been emboldened to delay and deny claims. Every day, the companies are choosing to gamble with the lives of their insureds and forcing reasonable people to become plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits in order to get a fair recovery,” Gibbs said.
Monday’s verdict means that defendant Leassuance Caldwell is now personally responsible for paying any amount in excess of her insurance policy limits. Gabbert plans instead to continue pursuing the full verdict from Allstate—asserting that Allstate was negligent in not agreeing to pay out their policy limit on the two prior occasions her attorney gave them.
“This process may require an appeal and even two more trials against Allstate and Texas Farm Bureau separately, but we are hopeful that faced with this unanimous verdict, these companies will finally do the right thing and pay Ms. Gabbert what she is owed,” Gibbs said. “Insurers have set up a system that fosters their ‘delay, deny and defend’ business strategy, so much so that the jury is not even permitted to know that insurance was involved or that Kelsi was offered just $1,500 before hiring our firm.”
Even with the possibility of future litigation, Tuesday’s victory marks the beginning of the end for a nightmarish ordeal for Gabbert.
“I am just thankful the jury saw how this wreck and impairment has affected my life and my career,” Gabbert said. “I have a great relief knowing those six people understood my situation and did not believe the case Allstate presented against me.”
Insurance cases in Henderson County are often seen as an uphill battle. So much so that Gabbert’s case was closely monitored by local attorneys for the two years it played out in court.
“The reputation around the state among attorneys is that these kinds of cases can’t be won in Henderson County,” local attorney Brian Schmidt said. “I am glad that these six jurors set the record straight. Justice still matters here.”
Drew Gibbs is a Board Certified, Texas Board of Legal Specialization Personal Injury Attorney. He is a former Assistant County Attorney from the Henderson County Attorney’s Office and is now a Partner at The Carlson Law Firm. With 12 locations across the state, The Carlson Law Firm is a Texas-based personal injury firm committed to providing exceptional legal services to our communities. We handle a variety of personal injury cases, including auto accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle injuries and workplace injuries, as well as medical malpractice, defective products, nursing home neglect, offshore injuries, wrongful death and much more.
- Written by Kazia Conway