Denver, Colorado's Personal Injury Law Blog

Huge Verdict for Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn on June 7, 2013 - And the Story Behind It

Huge Verdict for Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn on June 7, 2013 - And the Story Behind It

 Posted by:    Jun 15, 2013  

When 66 year old Herbert Blackmon left his home on May 5, 2011, he never dreamed that a drunk driver would change his life forever. While headed to Wyoming to make a delivery for his employer, Mr. Blackmon was rear-ended on I-25 north of Denver by a 19 year old drunk driver. The drunk driver, Heather Gray, had been drinking most of the day. Earlier that afternoon, after coming home from her community college, she had begun mixing cranberry and vodka drinks—light pink drinks that she admitted were mostly vodka. Just before 2:30 that afternoon, she decided she wanted to go visit her cousin near Cheyenne, Wyoming.

She threw a toothbrush and an overnight bag in her car and headed off on I-25—with a blood alcohol level over 3 times the legal limit. But because she was only 19, she should not have had any alcohol in her system. While traveling 65 MPH—drunk and while looking at her iPod, Ms. Gray slammed into the rear of Mr. Blackmon's van.

As a result of Ms. Gray's recklessness, our client underwent a single level neck fusion surgery to relieve spinal cord compression. This type of surgery involves taking a bone graft from another area of the body and fusing a level of the neck together. The surgery also involved the placing of permanent hardware into Mr. Blackmon's neck, greatly limiting his range of motion. He incurred in excess of $91,000 in medical bills.

The drunk driver had American Family Insurance. Prior to trial, American Family refused to acknowledge the true value of the case. American Family had several years and many opportunities to fairly compensate Mr. Blackmon for his life-changing injuries, but they steadfastly refused. American Family gave "lowball" offers at three separate settlement conferences, which further frustrated our client, because he truly wanted to move on with his life. All this time, American Family even went so far as to conceal the actual amount of insurance coverage the drunk driver had. We can only assume this decision was made at the highest levels of the company, because the lawyer representing the drunk driver and the lower level claims adjuster acted ethically and honorably.

On June 4th, when trial began, Chad Hemmat, founding partner of Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn represented Mr. Blackmon. At trial, American Family tried desperately to avoid responsibility. They even attempted to shift liability to an unknown truck several cars ahead of the accident scene that had lost a spare tire, which caused the traffic to stop suddenly. Nevertheless, every other vehicle was able to stop safely that day except the drunk- driving teenager.

Ultimately, the jury awarded our client nearly 1 million (including interest), all of which American Family Insurance will be responsible for due to their refusal to offer fair compensation prior to trial. The verdict was nearly five times the highest amount that American Family offered prior to trial. This jury clearly appreciated its role as the guardian of safety in the community. This jury sent a strong message that drunk driving will not be tolerated in Jefferson County. By allowing our client fair and complete compensation for his life-changing injuries, this jury fulfilled its role as the guardian of community safety standards and sent a message to insurance companies that they, and the drunk driver, should have done what was right long ago. On behalf of our client, we sincerely thank the jury for its attention to the facts of this case and the obvious diligence it showed in reaching a just verdict.


Mr. Blackmon wanted his story told. At Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn, we strive to achieve justice every day, and we congratulate Mr. Blackmon for having the boldness to stand up to American Family.

Current Post Comments

Quick & Easy Contact

Are You a Robot? - Help

Review Us Online

Review Anderson Hemmat & McQuinn on Google Plus
Review Anderson Hemmat & McQuinn on Facebook
Review Anderson Hemmat & McQuinn on
Review Anderson Hemmat & McQuinn on Yelp
Review Anderson Hemmat & McQuinn on AVVO
Talk to Anderson Hemmat & McQuinn Past Clients

Firm Associations

  • Featured in Super Lawyer Magazine
    Featured in Super Lawyers
  • AV Preeminent Rating 2017
    AV Peer Review Rated
  • Colorado Supreme Court
    Colorado Supreme Court
  • AVVO Rated Law Firm
    AVVO 10.0 Rated Law Firm
  • Colorado Trial Lawyers Association
    Colorado Trial Lawyers Association
  • Colorado Bar Association
    Colorado Bar Association
  • National Trial Lawyers
    National Trial Lawyers Association
  • American Association for Justice
    American Association for Justice
  • American Institute of Legal Counsel
    American Institute of Legal Counsel
  • Find Law
    Featured on Find Law
  • ASLA
    American Society of Legal Advocates
  • CATL
    Class Action Trial Lawyers Association
  • Rue Rated Attorneys
    Rue Rated Attorneys
  • Justia
    Justia Member
  • Million Dollar Advocates Forums
    Million Dollar Advocates Forums
    Featured on
    National Academy of P.I. Attorneys
  • NOLO
    Featured on
  • Top American Lawyers Association
    Top American Lawyers Association
  • Best Law Firms of America
    Best Law Firms of America
  • Trial Masters
    Trial Masters Member

Blog Post Archive


Captcha Image
Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn
5613 DTC Pkwy #150 Greenwood Village , CO 80111
Phone: (303) 782-9999

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Copyright © Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn | By +Chad Hemmat | Denver Accident Injury Attorneys | Personal Injury Blog | About Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn | Privacy

Anderson Hemmat Logo

Secure Client Area Login

Lost your password? Click here to reset it...

Anderson Hemmat Logo

Reset Your Password