$15M settlement reached against State Farm for teen accident victim

Kirk and Jill Presley reached a $15 million settlement with State Farm for a teenage boy who was injured in a devastating car crash. This amount ranks among the largest single claimant recoveries in the history of Kansas, where state law applies.

The Accident

In February 2016, a pickup truck driver allegedly ran a red light and crashed into the vehicle transporting Aundre Hobbs, Jr. (15). He sustained a massive head injury that necessitated immediately medical attention. Hobbs spent weeks in a drug-induced coma and months in the hospital before being discharged to a rehabilitation facility. Upon leaving rehab, he required a wheelchair, couldn’t speak, and mentally operated at a 3rd grade level.

The Case

After tallying up existing and projected medical costs, loss of future employment, and various noneconomic damages, Hobbs’ condition necessitated millions of dollars in long-term care. However, the pickup driver only had a $100,000 insurance policy through State Farm. Under Kansas law, once an insurance carrier determines that a claim greatly exceeds potential coverage, it must offer as much as the policy allows. Instead, after State Farm received a lien letter from Kirk and Jill Presley, the insurer denied the claim completely.

 

This is where a comprehensive knowledge of the law comes into play. In Kansas, insurers who deny a claim are liable for the entire judgement. As Kirk and Jill Presley prepared to take the case to trial, State Farm attempted to mediate a settlement. They offered $5 million.

 

“We walked away,” Attorney Presley explained. “The liability was so clear, and the damages were so tremendous. Dre was just a remarkable kid.”

The Victory

Finally, with a trial fast approaching, State Farm settled in January 2018 for $15 million. According to Attorney Presley, “Rather than it being a $100,000 case, which for a young man with his medical needs is not going to move the needle, we were able to utilize our knowledge of insurance companies’ extra-contractual liability to orchestrate a full financial recovery for this family.” Attorney Presley remains in touch with Hobbs, who continues to improve thanks to the trust created with the settlement money.

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