Verdicts and Settlements for Clients in California Motor Vehicle Accidents
We represented a 53–year–old software engineer who was injured in an automobile versus bicycle collision in the Silicon Valley. A left–turning vehicle struck our client and propelled him onto the hood and roof of the vehicle. He sustained a fracture of the temporal bone with resulting subdural hemorrhage and brain stem compression. The vehicle driver claimed that her view of the cyclist was obscured by the sun. Our attorneys produced visibility experts at trial. Prior to trial, the defense had offered only $150,000 in settlement
Our automobile accident trial specialists obtained a jury verdict in Sacramento County in the amount of $8,875,000 on behalf of a young woman injured in a high–speed head–on collision. Our client’s car was struck by another automobile that was speeding and making an illegal left turn. We sued the driver of the other car as well as the rental agency that had provided the car to the negligent operator. Our client sustained a brain injury and was in a coma following the accident. She also had multiple fractures of her arms and legs. Her claim included compensation for pain and suffering as well as out–of–pocket damages, including wage loss. Her residual complaints at trial included difficulty with memory, speech, gait and cognition. Before the trial, the insurance companies for the defendants had offered only $150,000 in settlement.
Wrongful Death Car Accident - $7.36 Million Verdict
The wrongful death trial lawyers at Walkup Melodia represented the parents of an 8-year-old girl who was killed in a Redwood City car accident. The crash also injured the girl's mother and 10-year-old sister.
The evidence presented during the four week trial indicated that the at-fault driver was intoxicated and traveling around 85 mph at the time of the accident. Although the at-fault driver had the right-of-way, the attorneys at Walkup were able to prove that the accident would not have happened if the driver was obeying the speed limit. Read More
Our product liability lawyers negotiated a cash and annuity settlement having a present value of $5,250,000 on behalf of the surviving widow and two minor children of a 42-year-old fire captain who was killed when his SUV rolled over on Highway 50 while pulling an "Ultralight" travel trailer. Plaintiffs claimed that the defendant motor home retailer inappropriately sold the family a trailer that was too large to be safely pulled by their small SUV. Plaintiffs also claimed that the retailer failed to advise them that if the travel trailer were loaded to its maximum capacity (as specified by the trailer manufacturer), the trailer would weigh 1,400 pounds more than the maximum weight recommended by the SUV manufacturer. While traveling on Highway 50, passing a semi truck, the trailer was hit by a gust of wind, causing it to fishtail, go out of control and roll over, pulling the towing SUV with it. Defendants claimed that had the decedent read the owner's manual for his vehicle and the trailer, he would have observed warnings in both manuals regarding overloading, and, by weighing the vehicles, he could have avoided the situation that led to his death. The settlement was reached after three mediations.
Our team negotiated a cash and annuity settlement having a present cash value of $4,050,000 on behalf of a recent business school graduate who suffered a brain injury after being hit by a car while in a crosswalk. The impact caused bleeding inside his skull and the increased pressure damaged his brain. The driver had a limited personal insurance policy ($50,000). She was employed by a large Silicon Valley company and she gave conflicting accounts as to what she was doing when the accident occurred. She told police that she was headed from one company campus to another. She later said she was going home. The company agreed to contribute $4 million toward the settlement after our team uncovered evidence showing that the driver was still on the clock when the accident occurred and that she sometimes used her car to run company errands.
Our automobile collision lawyers obtained a settlement of $3,049,000 on behalf of a 53–year–old financial planner, injured while she was riding as a passenger in a car that hydroplaned off State Route 101, crashing into a large portable message signboard owned by a highway contractor. During the collision, the frame of the signboard knifed through the passenger door, striking our injured client in her right hip, causing massive injuries, including an open and unstable pelvic fracture and a below–the–knee amputation. The contractor's crews placed the CMS board on the dirt shoulder of the roadway, just outside an enclosed storage area, as part of a construction project to upgrade the 101. At the time of the incident, the CMS board was turned off and had not been used for several days. Walkup's auto injury team proved that the construction company was negligent for failing to place the CMS board in an off–site designated storage area. The contractor alleged that it was both safe and customary to leave such signboards on the side of the roadway for the duration of a project. It further defended the action on the basis that the location of the signboard did not violate the approved contract plans. A portion of the settlement was devoted to an annuity. The case settled two weeks before trial.
Our vehicle stability team negotiated a settlement in the amount of $2,900,000 against the makers of the Chevrolet Blazer for the surviving husband of a woman who was killed when her Blazer overturned in a single-car accident in Northern California. Our client’s wife was driving to work when she inadvertently left the road surface, and in the process of correcting back onto the roadway, she overcorrected and her vehicle overturned. During the three rolls that followed, the roof collapsed and she sustained fatal head injuries. Our attorneys demonstrated that the vehicle, as designed, was not sufficiently stable to protect drivers who found themselves in foreseeable and expected emergency driving maneuvers. The settlement was paid both in cash and in annuities. Under the terms of the court-approved annuities, the woman’s surviving son will be provided periodic payments to cover the cost of high school and college and to provide security to him as a young adult.
Our automobile accident attorneys obtained a settlement in the amount of $2,750,000 on behalf of the surviving wife and children of a 39–year–old San Francisco businessman who died when his car was struck head–on by another vehicle that had catapulted over the center divider of northbound Highway 101. The accident occurred when a Jeep, traveling in the opposite direction, went out of control and climbed up and over the median, striking our client’s husband. The offending driver and the state of California both contributed to the settlement. Our lawyers proved that the other driver was negligent and that the median divider, as designed and built, violated State of California design requirements.
Our attorneys obtained a cash and annuity settlement having a present value of more than $2,500,000 on behalf of a 25–year–old woman who suffered major neurologic injury in a boating collision on Lake Tahoe. While riding in a boat owned and operated by her boyfriend, without running lights, the craft was struck by another boat broadside. Significant dispute existed regarding the relative fault of the two vessel operators. Before the injury, our client had been an excellent athlete, engaging in competitive snow skiing, high school softball and other sports. Following the collision, she was comatose for more than three weeks. Thereafter, she was impaired in her activities of daily living. Our team utilized specialists in rehabilitation medicine and life care planning to forecast the cost of her future care. Under the negotiated settlement, our client received a seven–figure lump sum payment and a schedule of payments over the next 20 years to provide for her ongoing attendant care and rehabilitative needs.
Auto v. Pedestrian - $2,250,000 Brian Injury Settlement
Our auto accident experts reached a mediated settlement of $2,250,000 on behalf of a 71-year-old retiree who had emigrated to San Francisco from China in 1980. She was struck while crossing the street at the intersection of Turk and Leavenworth. The defendant driver initially told police that she had darted in front of his car, but during discovery admitted that he did not see the plaintiff prior to impact. The impact caused the plaintiff to fall and strike her head. She suffered a basilar skull fracture with diffuse axonal injury. The total paid medical bills were less than $50,000 and there was no wage loss claim. Walkup auto accident injury lawyers successfully demonstrated that the plaintiff had suffered a profound injury notwithstanding the minimal economic damages.
Wrongful Death - Truck strikes senior citizen, $2,000,000 settlement
Our wrongful death auto accident lawyers settled a wrongful death claim on behalf of the heirs of a vibrant 72-year-old woman who was walking to work in the SOMA district when she was struck by a large industrial truck. A vigorous woman for her age, the decedent helped support her daughter and two grandchildren. The operator of the rig failed to yield as the decedent crossed the street with the right-of-way. Not seeing the decedent, the vehicle operator struck her, throwing her several feet and causing an intracranial hemorrhage. Without substantial economic loss, the focus in the case was on establishing and proving the unique, close bond the adult plaintiff shared with her mother.
Our truck accident team negotiated a settlement in the amount of $2 million on behalf of the surviving wife and two children of a 42–year–old man who died when his automobile was struck head–on by a semi truck on State Route 65 outside of Lincoln, California. Our clients sought recovery for future and lost earnings as well as for the loss of love, comfort and society of their husband and father. As part of the settlement, our attorneys also worked with the workers' compensation carrier for the decedent. The case was settled after being filed in Sacramento County Superior Court.
Road Pavement Failure — Neurological Injuries — $1.9 Million Settlement
The Walkup vehicular negligence team obtained a $1,900,000 settlement on behalf of a professional truck driver who was injured when his belly–dump rig fell into a steep ravine after the roadway below gave way. The settlement also resolved an outstanding workers' compensation lien and provided for future medical care. Our client's employer had been hired by a general contractor working for the U.S. Forest Service to repair a rural fire road in Fresno County. After heavy snows the year before, the road had washed out during the spring thaw. The Forest Service's contractor hired our client's employer to dump "riprap" at the washout site. The government's representative directed our client to back his fully loaded truck, weighing more than 12 tons, down a narrow unimproved dirt road that had been cut into a steep ravine adjacent to the Tuolumne River. The edge of the roadway gave way, and our client's truck rolled down into the canyon below. Trapped in the wreckage for more than eight hours, the driver suffered permanent neurological injuries to his lower back and legs, which made it impossible for him to continue driving a truck. The settlement was paid by both the general contractor and the Forest Service.
Motorcycle Accident — Head and Spinal Cord Injuries — $1.6 Million Settlement
Our attorneys represented a 26–year–old Marine who was injured in a motorcycle accident in Southern California. He sustained significant head and spinal injuries when he was struck by a vehicle. The opposing driver claimed that the motorcyclist was speeding and not positioned in the correct place on the roadway. We were able to reconstruct the accident in such a way as to demonstrate that the motorcyclist was fault–free.
Auto v. Truck Collision — Wrongful Death — $1.265 Million Settlement
Our automobile accident attorneys obtained a settlement in the amount of $1,265,000 on behalf of the mother, wife and children of a 38–year–old Daly City resident killed when his car was struck by the defendant's truck. Our clients' loved one, who worked at the San Francisco Public Library, was riding in a car driven by a friend. The friend lost control of and rolled his vehicle, ending up in the middle of the number one and two lanes of southbound I–5. During the rollover, a dust ball was kicked into the air, obscuring the vision of oncoming drivers. All of the oncoming traffic except for the defendant truck driver slowed. The defendant's truck barreled into the car our client's husband was riding in at more than 40 mph. Experts retained by our auto liability lawyers testified that the truck driver's reactions were too slow and his vehicle speed too fast for prevailing conditions. The defense contended that the truck driver was faced with an emergency and that his efforts to avoid the collision were as good, or better, than anyone might expect. The case was settled at mediation just prior to trial.
Auto v. Bicycle Collision — Chest and Lung Injuries — $750,000 Settlement
Lawyers from Walkup's bicycle accident team recovered $750,000 on behalf of a 28–year–old financial district employee struck by a Ford F–450 truck as she rode in a designated bike lane on San Francisco's Market Street. The collision took place as our client attempted to bicycle through Market Street's intersection with the Central Freeway. The truck driver made an illegal right turn from Market Street onto the freeway on–ramp. In the process, his truck cut the cyclist off and ran over her. She sustained injuries to her chest and lungs, leaving her with traumatic asthma. The defendant claimed that at least some of the fault lay with the dangerous nature of the intersection, which, since its opening in 2005, had proven to be the most dangerous bicycling intersection in all of San Francisco, with many times as many bicycle accidents as any other San Francisco roadway.
Pedestrian v. Taxicab — $735,000 Settlement
Our team achieved a $735,000 recovery on behalf of a 42–year–old woman struck by a DeSoto taxicab while she was crossing The Embarcadero in a marked crosswalk in downtown San Francisco. Our attorneys hired accident reconstruction engineers who were able to prove that the cab was exceeding 50 mph when it struck our client. The cabdriver originally claimed that a “phantom” car ahead of it actually struck our client first, knocking her into the cab. The cabdriver also claimed that the injured plaintiff was crossing against a red light. Our attorneys proved otherwise.
Rear–End Collision — Whiplash — $431,000 Jury Verdict
Walkup auto accident trial lawyers obtained a $431,000 jury verdict against the Salvation Army when a Salvation Army truck rear–ended the subcompact driven by our client, a world renowned surgeon. The impact caused "whiplash" injuries to our client's neck and upper back. A mild to moderate injury for many people, our client used the injured muscles in her neck to support a large operating device that she wore on her head to guide a laser scalpel during micro–surgeries on ocular tumors. She is one of only a handful of surgeons in the entire world qualified to perform these procedures, and she was forced to perform them in chronic pain because of her accident–related soft tissue neck injuries. The jury's award — more than three times the size of the defendant's last settlement offer prior to trial — included $350,000 for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
Rear–End Collision — Neck Injuries — $400,000 settlement
Our automobile accident liability attorneys brought suit on behalf of a 70–year–old woman who suffered neck injuries in a low–speed rear-end collision and resolved the case for $400,000 prior to trial. Our client had a history of neck and back problems prior to the accident and was forced to undergo a three–level cervical fusion two months after the accident. The driver of the car that hit her settled for his policy limits of $100,000. Walkup lawyers then pursued a claim against our client's own insurance carrier under the underinsured motorist provisions of her policy. The insurer argued that our client's need for the neck surgery was caused by her pre–existing degenerative spine disease and was unrelated to the accident. The insurer ultimately agreed to pay an additional $300,000 after we presented an analysis of the medical evidence demonstrating that the accident was a substantial factor in causing the client's need for surgery.