SEATTLE, WA - Seattle Attorney Chris Davis of the personal injury law firm Davis Law Group, P.S., has announced that his office recently settled a drunk driving auto accident case that occurred in Redmond, Washington back in January 2005. The drunk driver* has agreed to a settlement of $350,000 for personal injuries inflicted on Mr. Davis' client.*
The accident occurred when the drunk driver was returning home after consuming drinks at the Lucky 7 tavern located in Kirkland, Washington. The drunk driver admitted to consuming at least 4 drinks but possibly 5 over a 2 hour period. The drunk driver lost control of his vehicle and then crossed into the oncoming lane where he struck a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction. Mr. Davis' client, a 25 year-old man, was driving this vehicle. Witnesses reported that the drunk driver was traveling as fast as 50-60 mph in a 25 mph zone.
The Redmond Police Department responded to the scene. Police officers could immediately determine that the driver was impaired. He was arrested at the scene. Later the driver blew a 0.159 BAC (breath-alcohol content). The legal limit is 0.08 BAC.
Mr. Davis' client complained of neck and back pain. He also hit his head in the collision and lost consciousness for several seconds upon impact. The victim had persistent low back pain which ultimately led to surgery. A lumbar MRI showed three herniated discs in the victim's low back. Mr. Davis' client incurred approximately $35,000 for medical treatment related to his low back.
The drunk driver's insurance company Progressive Insurance Company refused to tender the drunk driver's insurance policy limits of $250,000 to settle the case when asked by Mr. Davis early on in the case.
Rather than risk an "excess verdict" at trial (i.e., a verdict that exceeds the amount of insurance available), the drunk driver agreed to confess judgment against him in the amount of $350,000. The drunk driver also agreed to assign his rights and remedies against his own insurance company to Mr. Davis' client.
Mr. Davis has indicated he will begin proceedings to collect the entire $350,000 judgment amount against the drunk driver's insurance company. The drunk driver's insurance company may have violated the law by failing to protect its own insured when it refused to settle the case for policy limits.
Mr. Davis has suggested that Progressive Insurance Company may have violated the recently enacted Insurance Fair Conduct Act (formerly known as Referendum 67) by engaging in "unreasonable" conduct harmful to its own insured. The Act allows treble damages at the discretion of the court as well as attorney fees. The Insurance Fair Conduct Act was approved by Washington State votes last November.
*Certain names have been withheld to protect the privacy of individuals involved.