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Juan Pablo Gonzalez-Sirgo

Juan Gonzalez-Sirgo’s Legal Cases

36 total

  • $900,000 RECOVERY FOR VICTIMS OF MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT

    Practice Area:
    Motorcycle Accident
    Outcome:
    $900,000 Recovery
    Description:
    In this case, our clients were best friends who were out riding on one of their motorcycles. As they approached the intersection of Columbus Boulevard traveling east on Coral Way in Coral Gables, they noticed a car inching westward from the stop sign at the intersection. The driver of the motorcycle blinked the high beams and started to downshift. The driver of the car, nonetheless, attempted a left turn. The driver of the motorcycle was not able to avoid the accident and a collision occurred. Both the driver of the motorcycle and the passenger where thrown from the motorcycle and later airlifted to JMH Ryder Trauma Center with multiple injuries resulting from the accident. Among his injuries, the driver of the motorcycle suffered a fracture of the left hip. The driver of the motorcycle incurred approximately $60,000.00 in medical bills. The passenger of the motorcycle, too, suffered multiple injuries. Among his injuries, he sustained a closed head injury with a facial fracture and a right ankle fracture. The passenger of the motorcycle incurred approximately $66,000.00 in medical bills. During the prosecution of the case, we argued that the driver of the automobile failed to yield the right of way when he entered the intersection of Coral Way and Columbus Boulevard. The defendant driver defended the case on a number of grounds: that the driver of the motorcycle was speeding, based on statements made by an independent witness that the motorcycle was traveling at approximately 85 miles per hour at the time of the collision; that both the driver of the motorcycle and the passenger were intoxicated at the time of the accident based on the results present in the toxicology report contained in the hospital records; that the layout of the subject intersection was negligently designed, raising the Florida Department of Transportation as a possible Fabre defendant; and that the driver of the motorcycle could have avoided the accident. During discovery the observations made by the independent witness to police at the scene evaporated. We were also able to demonstrate that although the toxicology report showed alcohol in the systems of both the driver of the motorcycle and the passenger, the driver had an alcohol level well below the legal limit. The deposition testimony of defendant’s accident reconstruction expert proved a key to defendant’s position that the layout of the intersection was part of the problem and that the driver of the motorcycle could have avoided the accident. Through deposition banks we obtained previous deposition testimony of defendant’s accident reconstruction expert. With this in hand, we set out to take an adversarial video-deposition of the expert. At his deposition, we were able to establish the following: 1) That the motorcycle was traveling at approximately 35 miles per hour at the time of impact not much over the 30 mile per hour posted limit and clearly much less than the alleged eyewitness estimate. 2) That the expert had previously offered a different opinion in another case as to what the average reaction time for a driver is, in reacting to a peril, which was in direct contradiction to his opinion in our case. 3) That the type of intersection problems identified by defendant were design in nature and therefore fell within the zone of immunity granted to the government. The case settled after this deposition.
  • WRONGFUL DEATH CASE SETTLES FOR $525,000

    Practice Area:
    Wrongful Death
    Outcome:
    $525,000 Recovery
    Description:
    In this tragic case, our clients were driving westbound on State Road 90 in Miami, Florida on their way to Marco Island to vacation with family. The husband driver, his wife, their baby, and our clients’ cousin, were along for the trip. Sadly, the family never made it to Marco Island. As the family approached the intersection of Southwest 137th Avenue and 8th Street, a Range Rover traveling southbound on Southwest 137th Avenue t-boned our clients’ vehicle on the passenger side resulting in the death of the 21 year old wife. The wife was survived by her husband, their baby, and her parents. The driver of the SUV, a prominent Miami businessman, claimed that the accident was caused by the husband driver speeding and running a red light. This, he argued, was supported by the traffic homicide investigation completed by the police. The police cited the husband driver for running a red light and causing the accident. The driver of the SUV also relied on the statement given to police, as summarized in the traffic homicide report, by an independent witness in support of his position. The husband driver, however, held firm that the driver of the SUV was the one who ran the red light. J.P. was retained to represent the estate of the deceased wife, the husband driver, the baby, and the deceased wife’s parents just 2 months prior to the statute of limitations expiring. Prior to retaining our firm, two prominent law firms in Miami had turned down our clients’ case. Once retained, our investigation revealed a different story. Rather than relying on the witness statements summarized in the traffic homicide report, we sought out the actual tape recordings of the witness’ statements. After listening to the tapes, it became apparent that the witnesses were not crystal clear as to who ran the red light and were not exactly sure as to what happened. Most of the thoughts offered by the witnesses were of “after-the-fact.” Our subsequent deposition of the main witness revealed inconsistencies in the witness’ testimony which brought his credibility into question. We also discovered through discovery that the driver of the SUV was on his cell phone and lost at the time of the accident. With the above discoveries and the use of an accident reconstruction expert, an economist, a before and after video documentary of the family’s life, and an expert on the effects of cell phone use while driving, we were able to secure a settlement, in a hotly contested liability case, at the mediation of the case that served as the foundation for the baby’s future.
  • RECOVERY OF $610,000 IN RENTAL CAR ACCIDENT CASE

    Practice Area:
    Car Accidents
    Outcome:
    $610,000 Recovery
    Description:
    In this case, our client was a passenger in a rental car that was rented by her husband while they visited Miami from their home country. The husband listed himself as the only would be driver of the car on the rental car application. He also purchased the supplemental liability policy that was offered by the rental car company. On the day of the accident, the husband was suffering from a migraine and did not feel well enough to drive. Not feeling well, he asked his adult son to drive. Unfortunately, the son got into an accident for which he was primarily at fault. As a result of the accident, our client suffered a pelvic fracture. Our position against the rental car company rested on 3 theories of liability: 1) That the rental car company is liable for the negligence of the renter and/or driver of the rental automobile as the owner of the automobile. 2) That the rental car company is liable for the negligence of the non-rental car involved in the accident under an underinsured motorist theory of liability up to the $1M limit of the supplemental liability policy purchased by our client’s husband. The non-rental vehicle carried only $10,000 of liability coverage. That the rental car company failed to offer UM limits in the amount of the liability limits to its renter and/or to obtain a valid rejection of equivalent UM limits in compliance with the UM statute and relevant case law. 3) That the rental car company is liable under a spoliation of evidence theory of liability. We made several written requests to inspect the subject rental car prior to its repair or destruction. This was particularly important in light of the fact that our client’s seat belt was inoperable. In spite of our requests for an inspection, the rental car company repaired or destroyed the subject vehicle prior to allowing any inspection. Under the above facts, we successfully argued that any statutory limits on any recovery would not be applicable and that under a spoliation of evidence theory not even the limit of the supplemental policy would be applicable as the rental car company is directly responsible for its own active negligence.
  • HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE CLAIM SETTLES FOR $587,500

    Practice Area:
    Insurance
    Outcome:
    $587,500.00 Recovery
    Description:
    In this case, the homeowner came home one night to discover that a plumbing pipe in the upstairs bathroom had burst inundating the house with water causing damage to the structure of the home, including subsequent collapse, and ruining many of the homeowner’s contents. The homeowner was displaced from her home as the house became uninhabitable. A claim was filed with the homeowner’s insurance company and the insurance company assigned an adjuster to the claim. Eventually, the insurance company paid the insured homeowner approximately $250,000 on the loss and refused to renew the insured’s policy. Unsatisfied, the insured retained our services. Through experts we established that the insurance company’s valuation of the claim was woefully inadequate. But equally important, we established improprieties in the claims handling process. It was the insurance company’s adjuster that referred a general contractor and a public adjuster to the insured. The insurance company’s adjuster insisted to the insured, a single mother who was in the midst of a divorce, that this was the only way to resolve the claim. We demonstrated that the contractor and the public adjuster were siblings and associates of the insurance company adjuster. This trio went about a conspiracy to defraud the insured in an attempt to quickly benefit themselves and the insurance company. Not only was the claim negligently handled by this trio but they charged excessive fees and extorted the insured. Toward the end of the trio’s involvement, the contractor and public adjuster demanded that the insurance company adjuster be paid $18,000 by the insured for any more monies to be paid on the claim. In the face of the above evidence, the insurance company settled the case for an additional $587,500.
  • $650,000 RECOVERY FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT

    Practice Area:
    Violent Crime
    Outcome:
    $650,000 Recovery
    Description:
    In this case we were retained by the father of a 13 year old girl that was sexually assaulted inside their apartment when she came home from school by an intruder that was hiding behind her bedroom door. Our client was fondled and forced to perform oral sex on the intruder. Our client did not incur any physical injuries. Our claim was limited to the emotional injuries inflicted on our client. Our investigation revealed a lengthy history of prior crime at the subject apartment complex including prior sexual crimes. Our investigation also discovered that the apartment complex had not taken any action to provide a safer environment for its tenants despite its knowledge of the criminal activity on the property. On behalf of our client, we brought suit against the apartment complex and its management company. In the midst of the litigation the assailant was arrested attempting to commit a similar crime at a different apartment complex. The assailant turned out to be a serial sexual offender. The Defendants blamed the father for not supervising his daughter (he was out at a job interview at the time of the assault) and she was home alone. The child’s mother was living in Europe. The Defendants also questioned whether the assailant was let inside the apartment by the child since they claimed that there was no evidence of forced entry. The Defendants also argued that there was nothing they could do to stop the crime because the child was targeted by the assailant. They retained an ex-FBI agent as an expert to opine as to many of these matters. The property manager also testified that they had no knowledge of any prior sexual assaults on the property. After substantial litigation, the case settled after we uncovered prior police reports for prior sexual assaults at the property wherein the police officers noted that the same property manager that testified in our case that she was not aware of any prior sexual assaults on the property was advised of these prior sexual assaults.
  • WRONGFUL DEATH CASE SETTLES FOR $2,500,000 MILLION DOLLARS

    Practice Area:
    Wrongful Death
    Outcome:
    $2,500,000 Recovery
    Description:
    In this wrongful death case J.P. was asked by counsel in Collier County to help represent a 19 year old young man who was killed as he rode his bicycle home from work late one night when he was rear ended by a drunk driver. Our client worked as a dishwasher earning a small wage. He was not a legal resident of the United States. He was not married and did not have any kids. He was survived by his parents and siblings who lived in their home country in Latin America. The facts supporting liability in this case were aggravated in that the driver of the auto that struck our client also attempted to flee the scene of the accident. The insurance carrier’s position was that even though the incident was tragic the value of the claim was nominal because of the minimal economic damages and the fact that our client was not survived by a spouse or children. As a result, we travelled to Guatemala to gather evidence to substantiate and bolster damages from our client’s surviving parents and siblings. We were able to then present a compelling case for damages at the mediation of the case resulting in a recovery of $2,500,000.
  • $500,000 SETTLEMENT IN BICYCLE ACCIDENT CASE

    Practice Area:
    Car Accidents
    Outcome:
    $500,000 Recovery
    Description:
    Our client was riding her bicycle on her way home from her job at Publix as a dairy stocker earning $13.50/hour in the early evening when a sixteen year old minor struck her while making a left turn in his 6,025 pound Dodge Ram 1500 Pick Up, which vehicle was legally owned by his father. Our client was on her 30 pound white bicycle with reflectors. The incident occurred at the intersection of SW 96 Street and SW 137 Avenue. The intersection is well lit with four large street lights (one at each corner of the intersection). Our client was very familiar with this route as she took it every day to and from work. Prior to entering the intersection to cross SW 96 Street heading South, our client came to a stop because there was traffic running East and West on SW 96 street, which means that there was a red light for the driver as he was intending on making a left turn from SW 137 Avenue to head East on SW 96 Street. When the traffic stopped, our client entered the intersection. She was almost across the intersection when she heard an engine roaring and she was violently struck by the Dodge Ram. Our client was thrown onto the grassy parkway. The driver struck our client with sufficient force to cause two cracks to the front grill of the Dodge Ram. Our 54 year old client suffered multiple traumas as a result of the incident including a left periorbital bruise, frontal scalp laceration, a contusion on her left hand, fractures of the transverse processes of T12, L1, L2, L3, and L4, multiple rib fractures, she underwent a video assisted thoracic surgery to evacuate a residual blood clot in her lungs, and suffered several scars to the right side of her body including a scar under her right breast. The insurance carrier for the driver contested liability and the extent of damages. The case settled for the policy limits after litigation was commenced.
  • $340,850 JURY VERDICT FOR INJURED PALM BEACH DEPUTY SHERRIFF

    Practice Area:
    Car Accidents
    Outcome:
    $340,850 Verdict
    Description:
    In this case attorneys Russell A. Dohan and J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo obtained a jury verdict of $340,850.00 on behalf of a 52 year old female Palm Beach Deputy Sherriff. The Deputy was involved in an auto accident wherein she suffered injuries to her neck and back. She treated for these injuries conservatively with physical therapy and pain management. When her symptoms persisted she underwent a course of three epidural injections. The pain did not resolve. Her treating doctors recommended surgery but the Sherriff had not yet undergone the surgery at the time of trial. The defendant was insured by State Farm Insurance Company. State Farm offered to settle the case for $50,000.00 prior to trial. The defendant stipulated to liability at the time of trial but defended the case based on State Farm’s expert’s opinion that the injuries pre-existed the accident and that the Sherriff’s complaints were psychologically based. At trial, these defenses were proven to be without merit. A Palm Beach jury returned a verdict of $340,850.00 in favor of the Sherriff after a three day trial. Defendant’s policy of insurance with State Farm had a limit of $100,000. Nonetheless, the full amount of the jury verdict was recovered against State Farm.
  • $240,000 RECOVERY ON $9,000 POLICY LIMIT

    Practice Area:
    Personal Injury
    Outcome:
    $240,000 Recovery
    Description:
    In the early morning hours of January 29, our client, a taxi cab driver, was waiting outside a popular “Gentlemen's Club” (Club”) in Broward County, Florida for a fare, as they closed up for the night. He knew most of the people there and was chatting with the valets. While waiting, several young men came running out of the club. They were visibly upset, so our client told them to calm down and asked them if they needed a ride. In the interim, about a half dozen employees of the Club came running out the front door and a fight ensued between them and the young men. Our client was caught in the middle, was struck and fell to the ground, suffering facial fractures as a result of the incident. We placed the Club on notice of our representation and requested the Club’s insurance policy. The response came from the "local independent adjuster" assigned by the Club’s insurance company that the subject insurance policy contained an assault and battery endorsement with a limit of $100,000. Months later, in May, after many requests, the adjuster finally sent a copy of the insurance policy. Our client gave a statement to the insurance company a month later. We made a comprehensive demand on September 25 which included all of the medical records and bills, for the Club’s "policy limits". As reflected in the letter, at that time, our client had given us authority to accept the Club’s limits, whatever they might be. Our client wanted to avoid litigation. This offer was set to expire on October 27. On that date, the adjuster called and offered as an excuse as to why he has been unable to evaluate the claim: that he had "just received" the demand packet. However, unbeknownst to him, the packet had been couriered on the 25th and thus could not have been delayed in the mail. Regardless, we courteously granted an extension to November 10. On November 9th, the adjuster responded this time, not with an offer, but with a request for additional information. We provided that information on November 19 and gave another extension to tender the limits to December 1. No response or additional request was received by that date and a lawsuit was filed, at which time the matter was forced to proceed into litigation. Also, during this back and forth, no mention was made as to exact amount of the "policy limits" by the adjuster. During the lawsuit, for the first time in correspondence from the Club’s assigned defense lawyer, the insurance company took the position that the assault and battery endorsement in their policy did, in fact, apply and that their policy limits were $100,000, declining limits, based on expenses and claims. No indication in that letter was made as to how much remained on the policy. A month later $9,000 was offered as the amount of policy limits remaining due to "funds expended on another claim". That was clearly not acceptable. Once that amount was exhausted on the defense of the case, the insurance company for the Club withdrew its defense of the Club, subjecting it to personal liability. Facing a trial, and the additional mounting costs of the defense, the parties entered into a Coblentz agreement and consent judgment, for an amount chosen by an independent arbitrator and a Civil Remedy Notice of Insurer Violation was filed with the Florida Department of Financial Services. Facing a bad faith lawsuit, new counsel for the insurance company requested mediation. The case was settled at mediation for over 26 times the “policy limits”.
  • $440,000 HOSPITAL MALPRACTICE CONFIDENTIAL SETTLEMENT

    Practice Area:
    Medical Malpractice
    Outcome:
    $440,000 Recovery
    Description:
    In this case, our client fell while washing her floors at home suffering fractures to her right femur. She was transported to the hospital. The fracture required a cast which resulted in the immobilization of our client who was admitted as an in-patient into the hospital. During her stay at the hospital, our client developed pressure ulcers on her heel and coccyx. These ulcers were caused by the hospital’s failure to timely and properly assess, monitor, and care for our client who was at risk for developing pressure ulcers because of her immobilization and failed to timely and properly assess, monitor, and care for our client after she developed the pressure ulcers. The nurses at the hospital also failed to assess our client’s risk for skin breakdown as well as her skin integrity and did not use proper risk assessment tools to determine our client’s risk for skin breakdown. In addition, the nurses failed to turn and reposition our client while she was in Buck’s traction and failed to properly evaluate and/or implement sufficient support surfaces for our client. The nurses also failed to properly assess our client’s skin. Their failure to monitor and assist our client with reasonable frequency was a proximate cause of the patient’s development of a pressure ulcer on her heel and her coccyx and infection. The nurses documented that our client had a stage III sacral pressure ulcer with eschar on 10/29, yet debridement did not occur until 11/6. This delay in treatment caused a delay in healing of the pressure ulcer as well as an increased length of stay in the hospital. Medical malpractice cases in Florida are very difficult for a lot of reasons. One of these reasons is the expensive and lengthy required process that a claimant has to go through before instituting a law suit. At the conclusion of the pre-suit process in this case, the hospital refused to settle the case. The case was settled after litigation was commenced.