Licensed in Missouri and Kansas

Attorney Matthew Meyerkord Obtains $5M Settlement

Missouri Lawyers Weekly just released an article on a major case victory obtained by Attorney Matt Meyerkord and two other lawyers he collaborated with. The article covered a case in which a family injured in a car accident initially reached a $300,000 settlement with an insurance company, only to have the judge throw that settlement out. This allowed for a $5 million settlement to be reached it in its place after new discoveries were made related to the case. The insurance company involved in the personal injury matter could have kept the lower settlement had it simply not raised challenges to the way the settlement was to be structured when the first deal was reached.

The April 7 Missouri Lawyers Weekly article covering this case is called "Settlement Balloons After Insurer Balks at Annuity." Let's start with some background on the case. As explained in the article, the car accident took place on Jan. 16, 2014, when a pickup truck traveling at roughly 60 miles per hour rear-ended a car that was at almost at a complete stop. A mother and her three young children (the plaintiffs in this case) were in the vehicle that was hit by the truck. The mother's one-and-a-half-year-old son was left with traumatic brain injuries because of the collision.

The family attempted to reach a settlement with the truck driver's insurance company three years after the accident occurred. They sought compensation equal to the other driver's auto insurance policy limits of $300,000. Their lawyer, Attorney Meyerkord, asked that an annuity structure be used for the settlement for the one-and-a-half-year-old's portion (meaning he would get payments throughout his lifetime). Even though the court approved this settlement agreement, the insurance company did not want to comply with the plan for the annuity structure. The insurer argued that the court could not force the use of this type of structure and asked for the decision to be changed.

In turn, Attorney Meyerkord asked the court for permission to sue the insurance company for repudiating the settlement. Mr. Meyerkord then brought in reinforcements, adding two attorneys from other law firms to the case. These were Attorneys Dirk Vandever of The Popham Law Firm and Andy Gelbach of The Gelbach Law Firm. What ended up turning the case around was the discovery by the plaintiffs and their lawyers that the defendant actually had insurance policies for additional vehicles—something that insurance company had not previously mentioned. This meant that these policies could be used to increase the amount of possible compensation for the car accident victims.

After this information was revealed to the court, the first settlement was deemed void due to "material misrepresentations" by the insurer. Before the March trial date arrived, the insurance company settled for $5 million, an amount that included a structured settlement plan. The good news doesn't stop there—the family also secured a separate settlement that provided $33,333 for each of the other two children! At Meyerkord & Russell, we are pleased that we had the chance to help this family get the compensation that they actually deserved. Our Kansas City personal injury attorneys represent all types of injury victims. Contact our firm to find out how we can help with your case!