My client, Kiki, was a 36 year old female tourist who was severely burned by scalding hot tea at a Chinese Restaurant.
The busperson placed excessively hot tea on a Lazy Susan at my client's table. The teapot "sweated" due to condensation and, because of its poor placement at the edge of the Lazy Susan, it slid off the edge, tipped over and covered my Kiki's arm with hot liquid.
Kiki suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns which required skin grafting surgery. Skin was taken from her scalp and placed on her forearm in an excruciatingly painful and gruesome surgery.
Kiki, to this day, has permanent scarring and some discomfort.
The restaurant's lawyers tried to blame Kiki and/or the other 11 patrons at the table but, when I took the bus person's deposition, it was admitted that they are required to serve the tea when the temperature gauge is pointing to the red.
"What does 'red' mean?" I asked.
"Dangerous," she responded.
After some very serious and heavy litigation, the case went to mediation where a retired judge helped us settle the case.
Motorcycle Accident Leads to Traumatic Brain Injury, $8M Settlement
Settled at Mediation for Just Under $8 Million
Just when you think you have no case, you may have a case. I was asked to take a case where Billy, a motorcycle rider who on first impression was thought to be partially, if not all, to blame for an accident from which he suffered catastrophic injuries.
Billy was a vibrant, young 20 something motorcycle rider who was not expected to live. Turns out a lady turned left in front of him in a road construction zone. Upon further investigation, I discovered that there were potentially many reasons why this accident happened – not all of which could be blamed on the left-turning lady OR Billy. There were a lot of entities, both public and privae, involved.
We investigated even further, filed a lawsuit against several defendants and were there for Billy and his family throughout the ordeal. We litigated aggressively, taking dozens of depositions, hiring legal and medical experts, life care planners, pain management doctors, rehabilitation therapists.
Billy will never be the same, he suffered severe brain damage, multiple broken bones, fractures of the spine. His family will have to take care of him for the rest of his life.
Through our passionate and zealous representation of Billy, we ultimately negotiated a settlement of just under $8 Million, which will enable Billy to receive the lifetime care he requires.
Motorcycle Accident $275,000 Settlement
This case is one wherein my client, Bobby, suffered serious injuries as a result of a car (driven by Theresa) making a u-turn in front of him while he drove his motorcycle at a safe speed. In particular, he suffered a degloving injury to his right leg which necessitated a painful skin graft and had left him with a large permanent scar.
The police listed the primary collision factor as a violation of California Vehicle Code §22102 by Theresa. The code states that
"No person in a business district shall make a U-turn, except at an intersection, or on a divided highway where an opening has been provided in accordance with Section 21651. This turning movement shall be made as close as practicable to the extreme left-hand edge of the lanes moving in the driver's direction of travel immediately prior to the initiation of the turning movement, when more than one lane in the direction of travel is present."
Here's how Bobby discovered his gruesome injury: “I felt around my body and thought I was okay at first. I didn’t notice any problems. Then I reached to touch my leg, and I felt that it was very small. So I looked down, and I saw it, and I was actually holding the bone in my leg. It was completely torn open. I think the term that the EMT’s used was ‘degloving.’ It was completely torn open, and my hand was inside my leg..."
Theresa's insurance company accepted liability (they agreed that it was Theresa's fault).
Rear-Ended By Drunk Driver: Leads to Surgery, $500,000 Settlement
How horrific it was for my client, Mrs. F., an innocent woman legally slowing down for a stop to be suddenly, and without warning, be rear-ended by a drunk driver. Otherwise in great health, this lovely lady's life was turned asunder by the flagrant disregard of a guy who was more concerned with his afternoon cocktails than the safety of other people on the road on which he drove.
The physical impact to Mrs. F's car was so severe that it was deemed a total loss. In particular, the insurance company felt that it would cost more to repair her car than the $30,000 that it would cost to replace it!
Mrs. F., was so seriously injured that she required neck surgery to remove and replace the discs in her cervical spine at two different levels in an effort to relieve the symptoms of the herniated discs in her neck. The herniations were deemed to have been caused by this accident.
Medical Bills: Over $100,000. The drunk driver's insurance policy had a limit of $25,000 which was paid very quickly to Mrs. F. However, what to do when her medical bills and pain and suffering far exceeded the drunk's policy limits? Fortunately, Mrs. F. was savvy enough to have Uninsured Motorist Coverage which is also known as Underinsured Motorist Coverage with a limit of $500,000. Simply put, Mrs. F's insurance policy "stepped into the shoes" of the drunk driver and treated this case as though they were insuring the drunk driver.
Our office prepared a detailed settlement demand package which included all of the details of the accident, injuries, treatment (and all relevant medical reports, surgical reports, treatment reports) and what Mrs. F could now expect in her future. With that in mind, we demanded the entire $500,000 from Mrs. F's insurance own company under the provisions of her Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Policy. Due to the severity of the injuries, her insurance company tendered the entire $500,000 less a credit for the $25,000 that she received from the drunk driver's insurance carrier.
I routinely advise my clients that it is imperative that they carry as much automobile insurance as they can afford -- and very importantly, Uninsured Motorist Coverage. I hope that what happened to Mrs. F. never happens to you but, in the event that it does, it is best to be covered to the greatest extent possible.
Case of the Exploding Wine Bottle
6-Figure Settlement After Mediation
A fascinating product liability case involved a wine connoisseur who, while attempting to uncork a bottle of wine, was using a cork extractor which operates as follows: A needle is inserted through the cork, the user pumps the spring-loaded handle and air pressure then forces the cork out. Mr. A. had owned the cork extracting unit for several years and, up to the date of his injury, had used it to uncork at least 200 bottles of wine. Although he reports that the cork is usually extracted on the fifth to seventh pump, the bottle exploded on the fourth or fifth pump on this grim occasion.
He reports that he immediately knew that his hand was dramatically injured because he could not feel anything and, as he held it up, blood started gushing heavily from the wound.
It was my theory that the bottle itself was defective. I engaged the services of a phenomenal expert, Fred Johnson, Ph.D., whose credentials as a professor of physics at Cal State Fullerton spoke for themselves. Dr. Johnson examined the bottle with the use of a high magnification microscope and determined that there were two major defects in the subject wine bottle: (1) Very uneven glass thickness and (2) an obvious glass anomaly (bubble), which weakened the bottle's integrity, such that when the internal gas pressure was applied (in order to remove the cork) it caused a catastrophic failure of the bottle.
Mr. A. sustained serious injuries as a result of this manufacturing defect. To whit, he suffered a laceration to the flexor tendon in the ring finger of his left hand. Although doctors attempted to surgically repair the injury, Mr. A permanently lost the use of his finger.