Case Highlights the Importance of Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. (Aug. 28, 2019) –  On Aug. 14 a jury awarded $1,213,399.18 to Maria Rosas of Riverdale, Georgia for injuries sustained in an I-285 car cash. Kennesaw trial attorneys Joel Williams and Chase Elleby represented Rosas during the two-day trial. The verdict was rendered nearly four years after the incident took place in the northbound lanes of I-285 near the Georgia 166 interchange.

“We are pleased that we were able to obtain justice for Mrs. Rosas,” Williams said. “It was a complicated case involving several parties and their insurance companies but at the end, we are happy the jury came back with this decision.”

The wreck involved Rosas, Defendant Joel Nelson and an industrial tree truck driven by Andrew King of King Tree Experts. On August 21, 2015, Nelson attempted to merge onto I-285 in his Ford Focus while Rosas was driving her van in the far-left lane of the interstate. As Nelson merged, he failed to yield the right of way and collided with the truck driven by King. The impact caused Nelson to lose control of his vehicle and cross several lanes of traffic, striking Rosas’ van. Rosas sustained injuries to her lower back as a result of the crash and she required more than $73,000 in medical treatment.   

This case was defended by Rosas’ own insurance company, State Farm. The at-fault driver’s insurance company tendered its limits of $25k early on in the case and Rosas requested that her own insurance company pay its underinsured motorist limits of $125k to cover the remainder of her damages. State Farm refused to do so, choosing instead to take advantage of a Georgia law that allows an underinsured motorist carrier to deny its insured’s claim and defend the case in the name of a negligent driver that injures its own insured.

“It is a falsehood the law forces on the jury,” Williams said. “Even though the case is being defended by the Plaintiff’s own insurance company, the law will not allow the lawyers to mention the word insurance in front of the jury.”

When someone is injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM), if the injured party does not have enough UM coverage, their insurance may not cover the full amount of damages.

“This case should stand as a reminder to all of us about how important it is to purchase ample uninsured motorist coverage,” Williams explained.

Jason Green of Lynn Leonard & Associates represented State Farm.

Attorneys Joel Williams and Chase Elleby are based in Kennesaw but they litigate catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases throughout the State of Georgia. You can learn more about the firm by visiting If you prefer a more personal touch, reach out to Joel and Chase by phone at (404) 389-1035 or by email at and

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