Often lawyers will advertise their biggest cases – “multi-million dollar verdict in construction accident,” or “massive settlement in wrongful death action.” Although not every case GWC handles involves catastrophic injuries, every case, no matter the size, receives the same level of diligent prosecution from every member of the GWC team.
This case at issue stems from an auto collision that occurred on November 13, 2008 where GWC’s client was struck head-on by a pick-up truck driven by the Defendant. GWC attorney Michael A. Knobloch conducted discovery on the underlying case and found that the Defendant was insured by a so-called “sub-standard” insurance company, whose policy limits for this event were a mere $20,000.00 – the minimum in Illinois.
Attorney Knobloch pushed the case through the Municipal Department of the Cook County Circuit Court and ultimately presented the case at mandatory arbitration. The Defendant did not personally show up, but an attorney hired by his insurance company represented him at the hearing. At the conclusion of the arbitration hearing, GWC’s client was awarded $20,000.00 – the complete policy limits of the Defendant – as well as her court costs. Further, GWC was able to bar the insurance company from rejecting the award, as the Defendant was not present at the arbitration.
GWC’s client was struck head-on by a pick-up truck driven by the Defendant…
In order to avoid paying this award, the insurance company filed a Declaratory Action in Chancery Court, seeking a declaration from the court that the Defendant had not cooperated with his insurance policy. Such an outcome would allow the insurance company to escape paying the judgment secured by GWC. Naturally, GWC took on the insurance company again and continued to fight for our client.
Personal injury law attorney Brad Barker from GWC picked up the Chancery action. Attorney Barker deposed representatives from the insurer and the attorneys hired by insurance company to defend the Defendant in the underlying case and fought the insurance company and prevailed on numerous procedural motions.
The Chancery case proceeded to a bench trial on December 10, 2014. When the ruling came in on May 22, 2015, GWC had beaten the insurance company once again. The order from the Chancery judge required the insurance company to pay the underlying arbitration award secured by Attorney Knobloch, as well as interest on that judgment for the nearly four years that the insurance company had refused to pay the award.
As of the posting of this blog post, the insurance company has filed its Notice of Appeal of the judge’s ruling. GWC will continue to fight, assigning its in-house appellate attorney, Kirsten Dunne, to fight this case through the First District Appellate Court of Illinois.
While this case is never going to receive the “big verdict” headlines that some cases may garner, it is a testament to GWC’s dedication to fighting for justice for every client, no matter the size of the case.