NEW PORT RICHEY — A jury last week awarded $1.16 million to Isaac Rios, a 43-year-old New Port Richey motorist who was hit in 2007 by an uninsured driver who ran a stop sign.
Rios had uninsured motorists' coverage and the lawsuit was against Rios' own insurance company, 21st Century. Rios' attorney, Jim Magazine, said his client's policy was for $100,000, but 21st Century wouldn't pay the claim, which is why they went to trial.
Rios owned his own auto repair business and hasn't been able to work since the crash, Magazine said.
He said Rios, who is married with four children, had surgery on his shoulder, is expected to have surgery on his neck and back and deals with chronic pain. Magazine said Rios tried to go back to work but couldn't physically perform manual labor anymore, which is all he could do because he left school in eighth grade and reads at a sixth-grade level.
"He is unemployable," Magazine said.
The trial in Pasco civil court began April 23 and ended Thursday.
Magazine said it could still be years before his client receives any money, though, because now they have to file another lawsuit to force 21st Century to pay because the verdict was more than Rios' policy limit.
"Now we have to go and sue them for the remainder," Magazine said.
He said the jury verdict just gives him "the right to go after" the money.
"This is just one step," Magazine said.