Confidential Settlement – Mid Six Figures
Our client was walking to an appointment on private property. A contractor had placed an extension cord across the pedestrian walkway with no warnings or markings of any kind. Our client tripped over the extension cord severely injuring her arm, requiring surgery. As with any trip/slip and fall case, there is always an issue of whether the plaintiff could have avoided the “open and obvious” hazard. This defense was raised in this case unsuccessfully as the plaintiff was required to navigate a confusing property requiring her to focus her attention to her surroundings and not the sidewalk.
Our client was a motorcyclist who struck another vehicle when the offending vehicle failed to yield the right of way to our client. He suffered a broken wrist and ankle requiring surgery to both extremities. The driver of the offending vehicle had a $100,000.00 policy with her private insurance. But due to the severity of the injuries, we had to find additional available insurance to make our client whole. During discovery, we were able to find evidence that the offending driver may have been in the course and scope of her employment thereby potentially triggering a business insurance policy. This was a complex case involving agency issues and fortunately, we were able to uncover enough facts to support the necessary legal theories which resulted in a well-deserved resolution for our client.
$500,000.00 policy limits
Our clients were driving home from a family vacation when they were violently rear ended. The offending vehicle only had $60,000.00 of liability insurance. We were able to bring claims against two other insurance companies under our clients’ underinsured motorist coverages. One client had suffered a torn rotator cuff requiring surgery, and another had suffered a T-6 compression spine fracture also necessitating surgery. Our third client had back and neck soft tissue injuries. This case was successful due to our clients’ appropriate decision to purchase substantial uninsured/underinsured motorist limits. ($100,000 on one policy and $300,000 on another policy). They also had terrific medical payments benefits also adding to the settlement. Had they not bought these limits, their entire recovery would have been limited to $60,000.00.
Our client was riding her bicycle on public property when an unleashed dog bolted after our client. The dog crashed into the bicycle knocking our client off her bike, but the dog never bit our client. She suffered a compression fracture in her back which did not require surgery. We brought a claim against the dog owner’s homeowner’s policy and reached a favorable settlement for our client. This case is the perfect example of how broad homeowner’s insurance policies are. Since this was not a dog bite case, we were required to show that the homeowner was negligent in failing to contain the dog triggering the policy.
One of the first cases we ever worked on was in 1989 when “hay cubes” contaminated with botulism killed or severely injured thoroughbred horses throughout Los Angeles. Hay cubes are a condensed type of horse feed. During the processing of the feed, a dead rabbit was introduced into the sterilization process which unknown to the processor caused botulism. Following distribution and ingestion of the hay cubes, these prized animals either died or were severely injured. We worked on this case with several law firms getting our clients substantial damages through the processor’s insurance. One of the greatest hurdles in navigating this type of case is putting a value on what is considered personal property. Despite being beloved pets and members of a household, animals are nevertheless considered property, not much different than an automobile. Sad, but true, although some future legislation may correct this unfortunate reality.
$100,000.00 Policy Limits
In 2019, our client was a passenger in a vehicle which rear ended another vehicle. He suffered a compression in his thoracic spine requiring a vertebroplasty surgery where cement is injected into the fractured disc to stabilize the back. This case settled in May 2021 without litigation saving two years of time.
$500,000.00 policy limits – Converted to a Structured Settlement
Our client was a seven-year-old boy who was walking on a sidewalk near a neighbor’s house. While walking, a German Shepard bolted out of the neighbor’s house and attacked our client, who suffered substantial facial injuries. Sadly, the injuries required extensive plastic surgery. The homeowner’s injuries paid our client their policy limits of $500,000.00 which was “structured” over the next twenty years for our client’s benefits. By purchasing an annuity with the settlement monies, our client ultimately received close to $1,000,000.00 free of taxes. For severe injuries to children, structuring a settlement eliminates the concerns of large lump sums of money going to a minor on their 18th birthday.
Our client was a guest in a dog owner’s home. The dog was enclosed in a crate but one of the dog owner’s children let the dog out of the crate. The dog immediately went after our client biting her hand and wrist. One of the dog’s canine teeth damaged a nerve in our client’s wrist causing her to undergo surgery. She was also required to have a PIC line, which is a medical device attached to the patient for weeks delivering antibiotics to prevent infection. Dog bite cases always have infection concerns.
In 2018, our client was rear ended by a landscaping dump truck which was unregistered and driven by a worker with a suspended license. The truck’s accelerator was held together with string and the floorboard was rusted through. Our client primarily suffered a severe breast hematoma necessitating surgery. This case was resolved in May of 2021 during a mediation prior to trial.
Our client was an 85 year old woman driving her car and was hit by a dump truck after running a red light. The truck had been hired by the City to remove debris from a work site. The injury required multiple surgeries resulting in 50% loss of function of her arm. However, this incredibly brave and strong woman survived this horrific experience.
Our client was rear-ended suffering a herniated disc in his lower back necessitating a spinal fusion. A claim was brought against the at fault party which settled for his policy limits of $100,000.00. An under-insured motorist claim was then brought against our client’s own insurance which resulted in payment of an additional $675,000.00. This case underscores the need for drivers to carry very substantial limits for uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage comes to play when the at-fault party doesn’t have liability insurance, or not enough liability insurance, which was the case here.
$500,000.00 Policy Limits.
Our clients were driving their vehicle on their way home from an event when they were struck by a drunk driver. Our client suffered a head injury which thankfully was non-life threatening and did not require surgery. Our other client suffered severe emotional distress witnessing his wife becoming seriously injured. This was an uninsured motorist claim where the drunk driver did not have insurance and demonstrates why it is so important to carry large limits of uninsured motorist coverage, of no less than $100,000.00.
$500,000.00 Policy Limits
Our client was driving his vehicle when another car made an illegal left turn in front of him. His knee was seriously injured in the accident from hitting the dash board. After the surgery, his knee became infected prompting another surgery and a long recovery. This was an under-insured motorist claim where the responsible driver did not have enough insurance and demonstrates why it is so important to carry large limits of uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage's, of no less than $100,000.00.
$500,000.00 policy limits
Child 10 years old went next door to play with his friend. As he approached the front door, the neighbor German Shepard bolted through the front screen door and attacked our client. The child suffered facial lacerations requiring extensive plastic surgery.
In May of 2017, a college graduation was held at a local college in Southern California. The college hired an audio/video company who placed tripods into the common pedestrian traffic areas. The legs of the tripods jutted out and blended in with the grounds making the legs nearly invisible to pedestrians. Our client tripped and fell over one of the legs, causing serious shoulder injuries necessitating surgery. We were able to show that the tripods were placed in an unsafe manner, and that the pedestrians should have been diverted away from the tripods for safety reasons.
$300,000.00 with Uninsured Motorist Carrier
In February of 2016, our client was driving her Honda Civic westbound on Riverside Drive with the intention of turning left onto Laurel Canyon. Our client waited for the light to turn red for oncoming eastbound traffic and she began to make her left-hand turn. A speeding vehicle ran the red light at eastbound Laurel Canyon T-Boning our client’s vehicle. Our client suffered what started out as a seemingly minor shoulder injury. However, the injury got worse with time eventually necessitating arthroscopic shoulder surgery. During surgery, a micro-nerve in the shoulder was damaged resulting in a small degree of permanent numbness. The opposing insurance company paid their policy limits of $15,000.00 quickly, and during litigation, we were able to secure our client’s remaining underinsured motorist policy limits for a total resolution of $300,000.00.
Our client was invited to a friend’s house who had a very large St. Bernard. The dog seemed friendly so our client want to pet him. The dog had never bitten anyone before so the homeowner had no warning that it would bite a guest. When our client knelt down to pet the dog, it lunged at her face, causing a deep laceration above her eyebrow. This injury required plastic surgery. This case is an example that in California, a homeowner is responsible for animal bites regardless of whether the animal had ever bitten someone before.
Our client was an elderly woman who was window shopping at a retail dress store. Earlier in the day, the store owner opened the security gate, but left the gate track on the ground. Our client tripped and fell on the track injuring her elbow requiring surgery.
$100,000.00 Policy Limits
This dog mauling was considered one of the worst maulings in North Hollywood history. Our client was a senior who lived next door to the owner of pit bulls. One day he heard one of the dogs yelping in pain but the owner wasn’t home. Believing the dog was suffering, he went next door to help the dog, which had its neck caught between the gate and the house. Our client was able to get the dog loose, but it then attacked him. From the backyard the two other dogs heard the commotion and ran to the front yard. They too then attacked our client who was now being mauled by three Pits. The owner of the dogs refused to voluntarily euthanize them prompting a “trial” by the city of North Hollywood to see if the dogs should be euthanized. Ultimately it was determined by a judge that the dogs were dangerous to the community and were euthanized.
$100,000.00 Policy Limits.
Our client was a guest at her friend’s home. The water heater was set at the maximum setting which damaged the rubber gasket in the valve to turn on the water. When our client turned on the hot water, the valve failed spraying scalding hot water on our client’s legs, causing serious second degree burns.
Our client was a five year girl who went to a donut shop with her mother. The mother ordered coffee which was being handed to the mother in a styrofoam cup by the person behind the counter. However, the coffee was too hot, and the server couldn’t hold onto the cup and dropped it. The coffee spilled from the cup, and spilled onto the chest of our client, causing second degree burns.
$100,000.00 Policy Limits.
Our client lived in a track with community mailboxes. Our client was going to get her mail when a neighbor’s dog bolted from the garage and grabbed onto our client’s arm tearing the skin and requiring several sutures. She was left with permanent scaring on her arm. The medical expenses were approximately $57.00. The homeowner’s insurance company tried to argue that because the medical expenses were so low, the case had very little value. We were able to prove to them that the medical expenses were irrelevant to the seriousness of this injury and they settled the claim for their policy limits. This is a very typical insurance company tactic.
Our client suffered back injuries in a low to moderate impact auto accident. She underwent chiropractic and orthopedic care then eventually was referred to a pain management doctor for epidural injections. An MRI showed a small disc bulge. Defendant’s insurance company had only $15,000.00 of insurance, which they paid promptly. We then brought an underinsured motorist claim against our client’s insurance who then paid her remaining $85,000.00. This is one more example why carrying high limits of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is critically important for family security.
NOTE: Carrying very large limits of uninsured/underinsured motorist of at least $100,000.00/300,000.00, is highly recommend for anyone. Many of these case scenarios demonstrate how common it is where the at-fault party is underinsured. If the victim carries more uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage than the liability limits of the at-fault party, the victim’s insurance company will pay up to the victim's underinsured motorist’s limits. This coverage is very inexpensive, amounting to only about $50.00 per year! Check your insurance policy! If you have less than $100,000.00/300,000.00 of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, it would be prudent to increase these limits to at least these amounts.