Verdicts and Settlements - Part 3
Vehicle vs. Bicyclist collision - A mother, dropping off her cheerleader daughter in front of a high school, double-parked and allowed the teenager to open her car door without ensuring the roadway was clear to do so. Our client hit the car door and was flung to the ground, sustaining serious and painful hip injuries, resulting in fractures requiring surgical correction. Despite contentions by the defense that our client was drunk and was a DUI bicyclist, we were successful in resolving this claim prior to trial for payment of the underlying coverage, with excess contribution from the defendant's umbrella coverage.
Motor Vehicle vs. Bicyclist - Our client was riding his bicycle in the designated bicycle lane of a commercial district. The defendant and the defendant’s employer were operating a box truck when they took a sharp turn into a parking lot entrance. As the truck was turning, the vehicle made an impact with the bicyclist, knocking him off of his bicycle. Responding law enforcement noted that his bicycle frame was completely bent and that there were traces of blood on the sidewalk. He was transported by ambulance and brought to the emergency room for what the on-call orthopedist called “an obvious deformity in the forearm.” Our client was scheduled for surgery that week and had multiple hardware and screws installed within his right arm. After initially describing the injury as minor in nature, further investigation and documents convinced the 3 rd party carrier of the seriousness of the injury and settled the case promptly.
Boat vs. Boat collision in the Sacramento Delta - In a highly disputed matter involving the clear negligent operation of a speeding boat, at night, by a highly intoxicated operator under the legal drinking age, our office, after working with top experts in the field, was successful in obtaining the full $300,000 insurance policy limits for the operator of the stationary boat hit by the drunk driver. In addition, we obtained $10,000.00 from the DUI driver’s boat owner, and, despite the lack of insurance coverage for the DUI driver, we obtained $45,000.00 in settlement from that individual personally. Our client sustained tragic and severe injuries when flung from the DUI driver’s boat on impact in the Tracy Slough, where he hit the rocky banks and nearly died. We were further successful in essentially eliminating the need for Our client to repay his medical insurers.
Boat vs. Boat collision on the Sacramento River - This case involved complicated injuries to our client’s right knee which ultimately required surgery and which resulted in her facing a lifetime problem of a higher chance of developing “deep venous thrombosis” as the result of the crush injury which occurred when our client was attempting to stop a boat, traveling in reverse, from hitting another boat. At the moment of impact, the boat’s operator started the motor, in reverse, causing the two vessels to collide and partially crush our client’s leg. Through the use of noted experts in the Maritime Law field, and through diligent discovery efforts by our office, we were able to resolve this case for $160,000.00 and entirely eliminate our client’s need to repay her medical providers – despite contentions by the defense that our client, had assumed the risk of injury by stepping out onto the swim platform and trying to stop the two vessels from hitting.
Bus vs. vehicle collision - Our client suffered injuries to the tissues and structures of the spine including post-traumatic lumbar disc damage at L5-S1 (left neural foraminal disc protrusion measuring 2-3 mm causing neural foraminal narrowing on the left); disc desiccation with disc bulge at L4-5; and post-traumatic C5-6 kyphosis division disc collapse.
Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bite incident - Our client suffered the loss of leg tissue requiring a debridement of necrotic tissue.
Dog Bite Claim - Our client was in his front yard with his mother, brother, and small daughter. Our client’s mother had a small dog on a leash next to her. Our client’s neighbor exited the home with an unleashed dog that lunged to attack. Our client scooped up his mother’s dog in an attempt to protect it and in the process was violently bitten by the neighbor's dog. Some of the injuries sustained to the client include a fracture of one his fingers, the dislocation of a joint in one of his hands, lacerations, cellulitis, and nerve damage. The policy limits associated with the negligent homeowner was $100,000.00. The case settled for policy limits. Medical bills were in excess of the policy limits and this office successfully reduced these bills allowing for the client to obtain a recovery.
Auto vs Motorcycle - Disputed Liability Head-on Motorcycle Accident - Traumatic Brain Injury and Spine Injuries. Our client, a motorcyclist, was hit head-on by another vehicle and suffered several injuries including a traumatic brain injury (TBI), as well as displacement of a lumbar (low back) intervertebral disc which ultimately led to a lumbar spine fusion surgery. We worked with several leading medical, vocational, and brain injury experts on this case in order to obtain a satisfactory settlement just prior to trial. Defense counsel argued that our client was at least partially at fault for causing the subject collision because he was traveling at a speed in excess of the speed limit and had he been riding his motorcycle more safely the collision could have been avoided.
Motorcycle versus cow accident resulting in personal injury - This was a difficult liability case involving highly contested issues of whether or not a pasture was properly fenced. Our client, a 55-year-old male field maintenance manager for a water company, was injured in a motorcycle accident involving a cow. This resulted in compartment syndrome of his right leg, a comminuted right tibial plateau fracture, and right popliteal artery disruption. He was hospitalized for 3 months and underwent numerous surgeries. After 7 months, he returned to a part-time clerical job with the previous employer. Even in the alternate position, he could only work 2-3 hours a day, earning 35% of his former salary, representing a substantial loss of future earnings.
Motorcycle incident - Our client suffered a fracture of the right tibial plateau, four-compartment syndrome.
Disputed Liability Motorcycle Collision – Leg and Ankle Injury - Our client, a motorcyclist, and full-time pipefitter were involved in a collision with a truck that resulted in him suffering a fractured ankle, tibia, and fibula. The truck driver and his representation contended that our client was speeding. They argued that if our client was driving more safely the broadside collision could have been avoided. After fighting on behalf of our client and negotiating for several weeks, we obtained the total insurance proceeds available and was able to avoid litigation altogether.
Motorcycle vs Auto - Our client, a 59-year-old motorcyclist, husband, and father, suffered a fractured tibia and fibula in a motorcycle collision with a truck. Within just a few months of taking the case, we were able to resolve our client's claim for the total insurance proceeds available.
Motorcycle versus cow accident resulting in personal injury. This was a difficult liability case involving issues of whether or not a pasture was properly fenced. Our client was injured in a motorcycle accident involving a cow that escaped from the owner's property. Our client was in a coma for several days. He suffered a fractured jaw, a fractured elbow, traumatic brain injury, and injuries to his back, shoulder, and leg. After the accident, he was in rehabilitation and was unable to return to work representing a substantial loss of earnings.
Vehicle vs. motorcycle collision - Our client suffered disc protrusion at L4-5; disc protrusion at L5-S1; radiculopathy from disc protrusions requiring surgical intervention; displacement of a lumbar intervertebral disc without myelopathy; fracture of the superior endplate of L4.
Disputed liability vehicle vs. motorcycle collision - Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) with sequela; right orbital floor blow-out fracture; and right zygomatic complex fracture.
Settlement – Disputed Liability Motorcycle Accident - Our client, a motorcyclist who was in training to become a firefighter, was involved in a collision with another vehicle and suffered a closed comminuted displaced fracture of the shaft of his left clavicle, as well as a concussion. The other driver contended that our client was speeding, driving unsafely, and as a result was primarily responsible for the incident. Initially, counsel for the other driver was unwilling to offer any settlement. We secured a settlement on our client’s behalf after several weeks of negotiations.
Car vs motorcycle - We obtained a pre-trial settlement in this matter arising from a car vs. motorcycle collision in which our client sustained neck and back injuries when ejected from a motorcycle, incurring approximately $55,000.00 in initial hospitalization care. Subsequent to the initial treatment our client had little additional care other than ongoing medication usage in the two years that followed. Our client received no injections, did not have disc injuries directly related to the incident and, in fact, had pre-accident medical conditions that mirrored the symptoms he had after the incident. Settled three days prior to trial despite the defendant's contentions that our client suffered only soft tissue injuries in the accident.
Motorcycle Accident - Our client suffered a disc injury in his back as a result of a motor vehicle collision. Specifically, our client endured an annular tear in his L5/S1 disc. Our client obtained chiropractic treatment, consulted with a back specialist, and had a couple epidural injections to help with the pain. We quickly obtained the total $100,000 insurance policy available to our client from the negligent driver who caused the collision.
Vehicle vs. pedestrian incident - Our client suffered a left foot injury with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy.
Motor vehicle vs. Pedestrian collision - Our client, a high school student, was crossing a street near his school in a crosswalk following a football game. As he was proceeding through the crosswalk, an individual driving at an excessive speed struck our client, throwing his body in the air and ultimately landing over twenty feet from the point of impact. Our client, unconscious at the scene, was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital. As a result of the collision, he suffered a closed head injury and bruised abdomen. Doctors initially believed he might have ruptured his pancreas. Our client was evaluated by a neuropsychologist who found mild cognitive deficits possibly as a result of right temporal and frontal lobe damage. The case was complicated by allegations that our client had been drinking alcohol before the accident and unsafely ran into the street preventing the motor vehicle from a reasonable opportunity to stop.
Settlement - Pedestrian stepped put from a median lane and was struck by two cars. Our office obtained a settlement arguing that the defendant driver did not keep a proper lookout and should have been able to slow down and either avoid entirely or strike the injured party with less force if they had been paying attention to the roadway.
Motor vehicle v. Pedestrian Collision - Our client, a UC Davis student, was crossing Old Davis Road using the pedestrian crosswalk provided for the students on campus at the University of California - Davis. The at-fault driver informed the police that he did see our client in the crosswalk, but he failed to remain stopped. Recklessly, and without concern for others, he attempted to speed through, but unfortunately, our client stood in his way. According to multiple witness statements, our client’s body was tossed in the air like a rag doll and landed on the hood of the at-fault party’s vehicle. Records indicate that our client’s body caused a sizable dent where her body hit the hood of the car. Our client suffered Severe Comminuted Clavicle Fracture; Traumatic Brain Injury/Closed Head Injury with Concussion; Continuing Cognitive Deficiencies; Depression and Anxiety; Occult Mesenteric Injury; Left Hip Abrasion and Bruising; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; Adjustment Disorder with Anxiety and Depression; Left Elbow Abrasions; Left Hand Abrasions; Left Hand Paresthesias; Chest Wall Contusions and Abrasions; Left and Right Foot Abrasions and Pain; Facial Abrasions and Facial Pain; Left Knuckle Abrasions; Left Upper Extremity Pain; Left; Severe and Debilitating Headaches; Soft Tissue Swelling of the Left Clavicle.
Per our client's wishes, we settled her case without the need for litigation.
Motor Vehicle Collision versus Pedestrian . Our client was a 70-year-old male who was at a gas station pumping gasoline into his vehicle. The defendant failed to pay attention and collided with the client, pinning him against a pillar. The resulting injuries required immediate attention from an off-duty firefighter who was able to make a tourniquet in order to prevent the client from bleeding out. Our client was then transported by ambulance to UC Davis hospital. He underwent multiple surgical procedures and skin graph procedures in order to keep his leg from needing to be amputated.
Motor vehicle vs. Pedestrian-Motor Vehicle Collision - Our client had just parked his car on J Street in downtown Sacramento, California. He exited his vehicle to join his wife who was waiting for him on her side of the car. Suddenly and without warning, our client was violently hit on his back by something solid. He recalls his body being whipped and flipped around several times causing him to land on the hood of his car. He also recalled something hitting his lower leg. Police and emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene. A police report was ultimately prepared. The at-fault driver, a PG&E employee, admitted to not noticing our client at first and in his opinion it seemed our client ‘appeared all of a sudden.’ The side mirror of the PG&E vehicle had struck our client's back. Our client suffered: Compression Fracture of the Spine at T8; Right Paracentral Disc Protrusion at T6-7 Indenting the Spinal Cord; Lung Contusion Causing Pain with Breathing; Abrasion to Back at the Thoracic Spine; Abrasion to Right Lower Extremity; Right Heel Pain Increased With Walking; Right Foot Pain; Cervical Neck Strain/Sprain with Pain Radiating Into his Right Scapula; Cervical Spasms and Tenderness; Thoracic Spasms, Pain and Tenderness; Lumbago (low back pain); and Thoracic Stiffness Resulting in Thoracic Loss of Motion. The defense in this case not only argued that the collision was, at least partially, our client's fault, but also that the compression fracture in his back pre-existing the subject incident. We filed a lawsuit on our client's behalf, but shortly thereafter was able to settle this case.
Vehicle vs. pedestrian incident - Our client suffered leg fractures.
Premises liability - Our client discovered that his recently-leased home was in very poor condition and was in the process of moving out when a portion of flooring collapsed. Our client’s leg went through the floor up to his hip, and a loaded furniture dolly he was moving then fell on his abdomen. Our client sustained serious injuries to his low back, neck, abdomen, and knee, and was eventually determined to be fully disabled as a result of his injuries and underwent fusion surgery to his lumbar spine. Significant points of argument included our client’s awareness of the state of the premises, whether or not and when the defendant property management company became aware of the defective conditions of the property, and the nature and extent of our client’s injuries and long-term medical and economic losses. Resolved at a settlement conference on the first day of trial for more than twice what defendants had previously been offering.
Negligence - failure to properly supervise school activity - Our client, a middle school student, was flipped by other students during a dance activity practice session in a classroom, landing on his head and sustaining a traumatic brain injury that resulted in mild but permanent cognitive problems. We argued that school staff failed to provide proper safety equipment and instruction for the activity and failed to provide adequate direct supervision while the activity was occurring – the instructor had left the classroom when the incident occurred. The defendant school district initially prevailed on summary judgment arguments that our client and his parents had “assumed the risk” of this activity, however, the summary judgment was overturned upon appeal after it was pointed out that the students were not given the safety equipment, training and instruction appropriate for the activity, and that they were not properly supervised by the absent teacher. The matter resolved at mediation for $750,000.00.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and Fall - We have obtained a $500,000 policy limit settlement for an elderly client who fell and suffered a significant head injury. This difficult, complex, and disputed liability case centered around two dogs tussling, and in the melee, our client losing her grip on her dog's leash resulting in her losing her balance and falling. The Defense, in this case, argued no liability; that it was unreasonable for our client to step on her dog's leash to prohibit her dog from confronting the defendant's approaching dog. As a result of our client stepping on the leash, she lost her balance and fell when the leash was pulled from under her foot. We successfully argued that the Emergency Doctrine applied in this situation and that the defendant should not escape liability because our client took whatever action she could to keep her dog restrained. Had the defendant not initially lost control of his dog, our client would not have been put in the situation that ultimately resulted in her fall. We employed Ron Berman, a prominent Southern California animal behavioral expert, to examine the defendant's dog and if necessary provide expert testimony that the dog was not only improperly trained and behaviorally dangerous, but defendant's inability to reasonably control and restrain his dog ultimately led to our client's fall and resulting injuries. We also employed a leading Gerontologist, G. Jay Westbrook, M.S., to provide testimony concerning our client's injuries and their effect on her, her husband's, and her family's lives. Mr. Westbrook was prepared to testify regarding the changes in our client's activities of daily living, as well as functional and emotional changes resulting from her injuries. Both experts' work contributed to the successful outcome of our client's case.
Slip and fall incident - Our client suffered mild traumatic brain injury/concussion (including loss and/or alteration of consciousness) and injuries to the tissues and structures of the head, right eyebrow, back, neck, legs, groin area (including testicular fracture and severe scrotal swelling), heart (including but not limited to two severe myocardial infarctions requiring ICU intervention and ultimate five-way heart bypass surgery).
Slip-and-fall incident - Our client was walking from his apartment to his car and slipped on the muddy ground near his parking space, suffering multiple fractures and dislocations to his ankle with permanent residual problems. Our office retained a human factors expert who helped prove that the parking area layout led the client to walk in this poorly illuminated area that had also been improperly maintained. Case resolved at mediation.
Slip and fall incident - Our client suffered injuries to the tissues and structures of the left lower extremity including but not limited to a quadriceps tendon rupture and torn medial and lateral retinacula.
Slip and Fall - We have obtained a $130,000.00 settlement of this very difficult and medically complex case. Our client was volunteering in the kitchen of her church when she slipped in a puddle of hot cooking oil and fell to the floor. In doing so, she suffered a rotator cuff tear and lumbar injuries. The Defense, in this case, attempted to minimize our client’s injuries on the basis of her medical history, which included some lower back problems, as well as the fact that she could not undergo shoulder surgery because of her general poor health. Despite the Defense's initial position, we were ultimately able to obtain a settlement that will allow our client to afford future medical care for her shoulder.
Slip and fall incident - Right ankle fracture.
Slip and fall incident - Our client suffered a trimalleolar fracture of the right ankle.
Multiple Semi-trucks and trailers colliding after sliding on black ice - We handled this case in association with a top-rated Montana attorney. Many thought this case impossible to win because there were several semi-truck and trailers involved that collided over black ice and all the defendants claimed an "act of God" defense. Our client was asleep in the cab of his semi-truck when another semi-truck slid on black ice colliding with our client’s semi. The collision caused many serious, life-threatening injuries to our client, including Left Tl and T2 spinal fractures (in the facets), and Atlanto-Occipital dissociation (head separated from the neck, but soft tissue connecting the two, including the spinal cord). Our client spent several weeks undergoing and recovering from many surgeries in Montana, Seattle and Sacramento hospitals. This case settled at mediation for what is believed to be one of the largest personal injury settlements in Montana state history.
Semi-Truck vs. Automobile Collision - We handled this case in association with the R. Rex Parris Law Firm, attorneys Stephen McElroy and Ashley Parris. The case involved the wrongful death of a passenger in a van, in addition to serious injuries of a physical and emotional nature involving the young son of the decedent who witnessed her violent death. An elderly woman had stopped at the entrance to the freeway instead of merging. The defendant, a truck driver, saw her stopped some 17 seconds from point of impact but instead of slowing down or moving over a lane. He decided to lean on his horn for 5 seconds. The elderly lady, scared by the horn, pulled out at the last minute, resulting in the collision and the death of our client's mother. The matter resolved for the joint policy limits of all drivers involved in the accident, on the fourth day of trial, during jury selection, when the primary Defendant, the truck driver who had refused to accept responsibility for causing the accident, ultimately tendered his $2,000,000 policy limits.
Jury Trial Verdict - Sacramento County Superior Court - Our client was rear-ended by a fully loaded 73,000-pound logging big rig truck. The estimated speed at collision was between 6 to 7 miles per hour. Our client was driving a sedan which was pushed forward into another vehicle. All vehicles sustained minor physical damage. Our client’s vehicle was declared a total loss due to bending of the frame. Immediately after the collision, our client had neck pain. Over a year later, numbness in her arms and severe headaches interfered with her ability to enjoy life and work. After conservative treatment by Kaiser failed to remedy the problems, our client consulted with an orthopedic surgeon. After concordant discography confirmed disc disruption, our client received a one level artificial disc replacement at the C5/C6 level. Following surgery, our client’s neck pain and headaches were initially resolved. Approximately one year after surgery, our client began to experience neck pain and headache in steadily increasing frequency and severity. our client also experienced persistent low back pain and soreness. Our client's experts opined that the decline in Plaintiff’s condition after surgery was due to subsidence (sinking) of the artificial disc and abnormal cervical curvature (kyphotic deformity). Our client's experts further opined that the artificial disc would fail sometime in the next 5 to 40 years. Defendants’ opinion providers stated Plaintiff had an excellent surgical outcome, that all current pain was related to repetitive work trauma due to her occupation as a cosmetologist doing nails and hair. The defendants’ offer before trial to resolve the case was $526,000.00. After three week trial, the jury awarded our client $1,208,401.52.
Semi-truck vs. vehicle collision - Our client suffered a cerebral concussion, proximal left femur fracture, proximal and distal comminuted right humerus fracture, proximal comminuted left humerus fracture, bilateral scapula fracture, fight clavicle fracture, abdominal Injuries, pneumonia requiring tracheostomy, exploratory laparotomy, epicranial laceration, and a left thigh abrasion.
Confidential Settlement Figure
Tractor-trailer rollover accident. Our client was traveling on the highway when the defendant driver lost control of his vehicle on the icy highway. The vehicles collided. Our client was on a tractor-trailer that flipped onto its side causing our client to sustain a traumatic left arm amputation above the elbow.
Truck vs. Truck Collision - In this matter, we were successful in obtaining the full combined policy limits from the third party carriers and our clients’ underinsured motorist carrier concerning the wrongful death claims of the children and wife of a person who was killed during a vehicular chase which ensued following an alleged armed robbery. Despite the potential liability of our clients’ decedent, and despite the alleged criminal acts by the decedent, and despite potential ‘intentional acts exclusion” defenses which might have been available to the third party carrier (as it is alleged that their insured intentionally rammed the rear of decedent’s vehicle causing decedent to lose control, overturn, and sustain fatal injuries), we were successful in prevailing upon theories of negligence and the overall limits resolution.
Tow truck vs. vehicle collision - Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), left temporal contusion, right parietal and left parietal involvement, with loss of consciousness and combativeness and brain swelling requiring medically induced coma for numerous days and resulting in ongoing significant cognitive, speech, language and memory deficits.
Semi-truck vs. vehicle collision - Our client suffered a cerebral contusion with associated loss of consciousness along with severe headaches and amnesia.
Semi-truck vs. vehicle collision - Our client suffered a herniation to cervical level C5-6 with associated loss of nerve input.
Semi-truck vs. vehicle collision - Our client suffered neck and back injuries with disc herniation at L5-S1.
Semi Truck and Trailer Motor Vehicle Collision - We obtained a $325,000.00 settlement, following mediation, of this very difficult and medically complex case. Our client was involved in a motor vehicle accident with a semi-truck and trailer. As a result of the collision, our client suffered back injuries requiring surgical procedures to ease his pain. The Defense, in this case, argued that as evidenced by our client's extensive prior history of back problems, his treatment post-subject collision was just a continuing and natural progression of an already existing condition. Defense's position was that the surgical procedures that our client underwent would have been necessary, and would have occurred, regardless of the subject collision. Ultimately, our detailed and comprehensive analysis of our client's medical records persuaded the defense that our client's injuries, and resulting treatment, stemmed at least in part from the collision caused by the defendant. We employed the services of Life Care Planner Dorajane Apuna to determine and calculate our client's future medical needs and their costs. We also employed Vocational Rehabilitation Expert Robyn David Harris to determine and calculate the effects our client's injuries would have on his earning capacity over the course of his life. Both experts' work contributed to the successful outcome of our client's case.
Auto vs. Refrigerated Truck - Our client was an 88-year-old retired father, grandfather and recent widower. While stopped at a red light he was rear-ended at a high rate of speed causing the glass of most of the vehicle's windows to break. He sustained severe lacerations to his hands, arms, and head as a result. Despite medical treatment, cellulitis in his arms and had occurred. He also lost a tooth and broke his eyeglasses in the collision. Our client was so shaken up by this near-death experience that he stopped driving after the collision.
Paraplegia - In this construction accident, our office co-counseled on a tragic case that settled for in excess of $25,000,000.00 (present value).
$1,300,000.00 Wrongful Death Settlement
Our client was a passenger on a motorcycle. The driver of the motorcycle was intoxicated at the time of the incident. The driver of the motorcycle was headed to the local convenience store when he lost control, drove up a sidewalk and into an open field. The motorcycle went airborne and landed hard on the uneven grass, causing our client to be ejected from the motorcycle. He sustained catastrophic injuries and had to be transported by ambulance to the emergency room. Despite multiple attempts to save his life, he ultimately died several weeks later. His death was attributed to blunt force trauma. Following the incident, multiple law enforcement agencies were brought in to complete the investigation of this matter including an accident reconstructionist. Following the completed investigation, a demand was submitted to the at fault insurance carrier and the case was settled.
Wrongful Death Case - In this tragic case, a man lost his wife and two children in a horrific head-on accident off of I5 near Stockton. The defense alleged that the driver of our client's car, a relative of decedents, had had a heart attack and crossed the centerline of the freeway. They alleged an "Act of God" was responsible and they had no liability. After extensive consultation with the coroner, he testified he could not say whether the decedent had suffered a heart attack before the accident or after the crash. As a result, the highly contested case resolved for $500,000 (Policy Limits).
Settlement – Wrong Death Settlement – Disputed Liability Semi-Truck Collision We represented the mother of a young man killed in an auto collision that the CHP concluded was his fault. We argued that despite the conclusions of the traffic collision report, the other party in the case, a semi-truck driver, possessed some responsibility based on various factors. We ultimately achieved a settlement at mediation.
Wrongful Death Case Motor Vehicle Collision - Our client was a 22-year-old female who was traveling along highway 50 in Rancho Cordova, CA. The defendant failed to remain in his lane and crossed over into oncoming traffic. The three-car impact resulted in the fatality of both our client and the defendant driver. Despite having a significant case value, the claim was resolved for the maximum policy limits of the defendant driver.