Struck Head-On By Trailer

Mrs. Garcia suffered a severe abdominal injury, including damage to her colon, as a result of the seatbelt trauma caused by the frontal impact. Mrs. Garcia ultimately had to undergo colon repair, which left her with a colostomy, the recovery for which was complicated and life-threatening. Ramon Garcia suffered impact to his right knee in the incident along with other minor soft-tissue injuries. He also suffered emotional distress over observing his wife being injured and her immediate reaction to the injury when she thought she was dying.

Defendants contended that Mrs. Garcia's colostomy would not dramatically impact her quality of life and disputed Mrs. Garcia's need for future medical care and treatment. Defendants also contended that Mr. Garcia did not suffer any serious knee injury; rather his pain was a result of a prior knee replacement surgery. Defendant had a $1 million primary insurance policy with Zurich and a $5 million excess policy with Great American Insurance. Defendants tendered Zurich's $1 million policy limits six months prior to the trial. During the course of litigation, Great American made offers starting at $200,000, $600,000, and $1.2 million. On the eve of trial, Great American increased its offer to $2 million above the Zurich policy. The jury awarded $4,384,500 to Mrs. Garcia for her non-economic and economic losses and $828,000 to Mr. Garcia for his non-economic and economic losses for a total verdict of $5,212,500.