Liability Equally Divided in U-Turn Crash Brain Injury Claim

The plaintiff´s and the defendant´s liability in a U-turn crash brain injury compensation claim has been equally divided by a jury at the Los Angeles County Court.

On 25th February 25 2014, thirty-eight year old Antonio Pureco – a gardener from the La Puente area of Los Angeles – was driving along the road leading to his apartment when he indicated right and pulled over to the side of the road in order to allow for the space on the narrow road to execute a U-turn.

As Antonio started to execute the U-turn maneuver, his car was hit on the driver´s side by a vehicle driven by David De La Torre Carrillo. The impact of the collision crushed Antonio´s car, and he had to be cut free and put into an unconscious state before being taken to Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center.

Antonio was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and underwent extensive therapy at Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. Although making a significant recovery, the degree of his permanent brain injury means that Antonio will never be able to return to work, and he will require assisted living by the age of sixty due to the likely early onset of dementia.

Fortunately, Antonio was not so badly injured that he was unable to seek legal advice. He subsequently made a U-turn crash brain injury claim against De La Torre Carrillo on the grounds that the negligent driver had been traveling at an excessive speed for a residential round and had failed to keep a proper lookout.

Despite being cited for speeding, De La Torre Carrillo contested the U-turn crash brain injury claim. He argued that Antonio had been cited for a dangerous maneuver and that the accident would have happened – albeit with less serious consequences – had he been driving within the speed limit of 35 mph.

The U-turn crash brain injury claim was decided by a jury at the Los Angeles County Court, where the case was heard by Judge David S. Cunningham III. During the hearing, accident reconstruction experts demonstrated how the accident happened and, after nine days of evidence, the jury unanimously found the plaintiff and the defendant equally liable.

The set the value of the U-turn crash brain injury claim at $10 million based on Antonio´s reduced life expectancy, future medical costs, and future pain and suffering. Due to Antonio being found equally liable for the cause of the accident, the jury award was reduced to $5 million to account for his comparative negligence.


Claim for Injuries in a Single Vehicle Accident Settled Prior to Hearing

A compensation claim for injuries in a single vehicle accident has been settled for $26.55 million shortly before a court hearing was scheduled to begin.

The compensation claim for injuries in a single vehicle accident was brought by David Williams (32) – a landscape service engineer from Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. David had been driving his employer´s Ford F350 pickup truck through Clinton County in Pennsylvania, when the truck skidded off the road and David was thrown from the vehicle.

David suffered devastating injuries as a result of the accident and, despite multiple surgery and ongoing rehabilitation, is paralyzed from the waist down with only minimal use of his hands and arms. An investigation into the cause of the accident found that the two rear tires on the pickup truck were badly worn and nearly bald.

After seeking legal advice, David sued his employer for failing in his duty of care to provide him with a safe vehicle, and also made a compensation claim for injuries in a single vehicle accident against the two vehicle maintenance companies who had serviced the pickup truck in May and October 2011 – one of which had replaced the front tires on the vehicle, but not the back ones.

Attempts to settle the compensation claim for injuries in a single vehicle accident by mediation initially failed. The case was scheduled to be heard at the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia before Judge M. Teresa Sarmina. However, on the eve of the hearing it was announced that a settlement had been reached that each of the parties agreed upon.

According to the announcement, David´s employer and the employer´s parent company will pay $16.75 million compensation, one of the vehicle maintenance companies will pay $9.5 million compensation, and the second $300,000 compensation. The total settlement of $26.55 million is the highest compensation settlement recorded for a personal injury claim in Pennsylvania.

After the settlement of the compensation claim for injuries in a single vehicle accident had been announced, David´s attorney told the press: “The defendants were alleged to have knowingly and recklessly permitted a dangerous and potentially lethal bald tire on Mr. Williams’ 2005 Ford-350 truck. We would have demonstrated at trial how easy it would have been for the defendants to just do the right thing [and] remove the truck from service until the hazardous tires were replaced.”


Compensation for a Fatal Accident with a Lorry Divided Three Ways

A settlement of compensation for a fatal accident with a lorry has been divided three ways after a hearing of the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia.

Gail Walsh was killed in a tragic accident when, in January 2012, a lorry driving through an intersection in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, swerved to avoid a car that was encroaching. The lorry was carrying nearly fifty thousand pounds of sand and, as it swerved, the weight shift caused the lorry to tip over – unloading the full cargo of sand on top of Gail´s SUV.

Despite the efforts of the lorry driver – Ezequiel Rivera – and a group of passers-by, Gail died from compression asphyxia before she could be reached. Following an investigation into the accident, Gail´s widowed husband and her two sons claimed compensation for a fatal accident with a lorry against Rivera, the company that he worked for – Eureka Stone Quarry – and the driver of the car that had encroached onto the intersection, Max Becker.

The claim for compensation for a fatal accident with a lorry went to the Court of Common Pleas for the assessment of damages and to determine what part in causing the accident each party had played. It was alleged that Rivera had not maintained adequate control of the vehicle, his employer had failed to load the sand in a safe manner, and that Becker (who had died since the accident) had encroached onto the intersection in violation of traffic laws.

At the hearing before Judge Mark I Bernstein, an accident reconstruction expert testified that Rivera had responded adequately to the situation in the circumstances at the time. Becker´s widow – who had been a passenger in the car – denied her former husband had encroached into the intersection and Eureka Stone Quarry contested that it had negligently loaded the lorry in violation of safety rules.

After nine days of testimony the jury awarded Gail´s family $10.5 million compensation for a fatal accident with a lorry. $9 million compensation was awarded for wrongful death, with a further $1.5 million compensation for survival damages. The jury assigned Becker 50% liability for causing the accident, Rivera 35% and Eureka Stone Quarry 15%.


Woman Awarded Compensation for Injuries in an Accident with a Rental Car

A Colorado woman has been awarded $3.25 million compensation for injuries in an accident with a rental car after a hearing at the Denver District Court.

Angela Rogers claimed compensation for injuries in an accident with a rental car after being rear-ended by a vehicle owned by the Hertz car hire company on I-15 just outside Monument in Colorado. Angela had slowed the speed of her own car as she approached stationary traffic, and had almost stopped when she was hit from behind by the rental car traveling at approximately 60mph.

Angela sustained a serious back injury in the accident that forced her to give up work. She claimed compensation for injuries in an accident with a rental car against Hertz as the car that had crashed into hers and caused $20,000 of damage had been driven by one of the company´s employees. The rental car was totaled as a result of the accident.

Despite acknowledging that it had entrusted one of its vehicles to a negligent employee, Hertz contested the claim for compensation for an accident with a rental car. The company argued that, although it was one of their vehicles driven by one of their employees, it was not liable for Angela´s injuries. Hertz made an offer of compensation amounting to just $6,000. The offer was rejected and the case went to Denver´s District Court.

At the hearing to determine liability, Hertz again acknowledged responsibility for the accident, but denied liability for Angela´s injuries. However, the jury found in Angela´s favor and awarded her $3.25 million compensation for injuries in an accident with a rental car – $75,000 for her past and future pain and suffering, and $2.5 million for her economic loss.

Speaking after the award of compensation for injuries in an accident with a rental car, Angela´s lawyer said: “We are so grateful that the jury understood the truth and awarded appropriate and just compensation to Ms. Rogers. This case was about accountability and, fortunately, Hertz has now been held accountable for its conduct and Ms. Rogers’ claims have been validated.”


Fatal Accident Claim against a Drunk Driver Resolved for $3.1 Million

A Pennsylvania jury has resolved a fatal accident claim against a drunk driver with an award of $3.1 million compensation in favor of the victim´s estate.

Twenty-seven year old Calvin Wilson was driving his motorbike along Belmont Avenue in Philadelphia on April 4, 2013, when an SUV driven by Kahlile Gray turned left immediately in front of him. Calvin had no way of avoiding the collision, and hit the SUV – the impact of the collision forcing him into the air and over the negligent driver´s vehicle.

Calvin landed badly on the surface of the road and was rushed to the Hospital of the University of Hospital by ambulance. Tragically he was pronounced dead soon after his arrival. An investigation into the accident found that Gray – the driver of the SUV – was over the legal blood alcohol limit and that his vehicle contained several opened alcoholic beverage containers.

Calvin´s estate made a fatal accident claim against a drunk driver in order to provide financial assistance to Calvin´s two children and their mother, to whom Calvin was engaged. Negligence was undisputed, but Gray´s insurance company – American Independent Insurance Co. – did not agree to how much compensation was being claimed.

The case went to the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia for the assessment of damages, where the insurance company argued that Calvin had contributed to his fatal injuries due to the negligent way in which he had been riding his motorbike at speed prior to the accident. Their claim was supported by a crash reconstruction expert.

However, a witness for Calvin´s estate testified that, although Calvin may have been riding recklessly prior to the accident, he had not been speeding when Gray pulled in front of him.

At the end of the five-day hearing, the jury found in favor of Calvin´s estate. They awarded the estate $1.85 million in survival act damages and $1.25 million in wrongful death damages for a total $3.1 million settlement of the fatal accident claim against a drunk driver. The jury did not consider that Calvin had contributed to his injuries by his comparative negligence, but also ignored a request by the estate´s lawyer to consider damages for conscious pain and suffering.

The estate´s lawyer told reporters after the fatal accident claim against a drunk driver were settled that he may sue Gray´s insurance company for not settling the claim earlier. “The verdict was a fair verdict”, he said, “and it was a verdict that American Independent Insurance Co. should have anticipated two-and-a-half years ago.”


Jury Awards Compensation for a Back Injury in a Pick-up Truck Accident

A jury has awarded an injured driver $50,512 in compensation for a back injury in a pick-up truck accident after a hearing at Bibb County State Court.

Horace Thomas from Macon in Georgia made his claim for compensation for a back injury in a pick-up truck accident after being involved in a crash on 23rd August 2013. The accident happened as Horace was turning left into a private driveway, and was hit on the passenger door by another pick-up truck driver by Kenneth Brown.

Brown had been following Horace along the road and, believing he was pulling in to park on the right hand side of the road, went to overtake him. However, Horace turned left across his path and Brown had nowhere to go. Brown actually left the scene of the accident to unload his truck and returned later after Horace had been to hospital.

At the hospital, Horace was evaluated and diagnose with a soft tissue back injury. Due to the ongoing pain in his back, Horace attended the OthoGeorgia Sports Medicine Clinic, where he was treated by Jay Cranford D.C. on nineteen separate occasions.

To recover his medical costs and loss of income, Horace claimed compensation for a back injury in a pick-up truck accident against Brown – alleging that he had been negligent in the operation of his vehicle and negligent in trying to overtake Horace as he was turning left.

Brown contested the claim and repeated his argument that, when Horace had started maneuvering his vehicle, it appeared that he was pulling in to park on the right hand side of the road. With no resolution to the claim, the case went to the Bibb County State Court where it was presented to a jury.

As part of the testimony, the jury was shown an accident reconstruction in which the relative position of the two pick-up trucks before and during the accident was demonstrated. Following the accident reconstruction, the jury took just 1½ hours to find 90 percent in favor of Horace.

The jury initially awarded Horace $56,125 compensation for a back injury in a pick-up truck accident – $50,000 for his past pain and suffering, $5,425 for his medical costs and $700 for his lost earnings. This was subsequently reduced to $50,512 to account for Horace´s 10 percent comparative negligence.


Family Awarded $32 Million Compensation for Son´s Death in Car Crash

The family of a child killed by a speeding driver in his father´s disabled car has been awarded $32 million compensation for their son´s death in a car crash.

On May 1, 2012, Thomas Straw was driving along Route 28 near Aspinwall in Pennsylvania, when the hood of his Pontiac Vibe malfunctioned and released upwards. Thomas stopped the car in the center travel lane, with open lanes on either side of the vehicle.

Suddenly a Ford pick-up driven by Kirk Fair crashed into the back of the disabled Pontiac, sending both vehicles off the road and into the median. Thomas, his wife Jennifer and their four-year-old son were badly injured in the accident. Tragically, their six-year-old son Elijah died shortly after the accident at the Children´s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

An investigation into the accident found that Fair had been travelling at 71 mph in a 55-mph zone but should have had 20 seconds and more than 2,000 feet to react to a stationary vehicle in the middle lane. Fair´s failure to react until 0.6 seconds before impact was attributed to his use of Suboxone – a drug used to treat opioid addiction that can cause drowsiness.

Fair pleaded guilty to homicide by vehicle, three counts of aggravated assault by vehicle and four counts of recklessly endangering another person, among other charges. He was sentenced to six to 23 months’ imprisonment and 10 years’ probation; following which the Straw family claimed compensation for their son´s death in a car crash against Fair and the employer for whom he was working at the time – Golon Masonry.

At the hearing to assess damages, the jury was told that Golon Masonry had employed Fair and given him a company vehicle to drive despite a criminal record check showing that Fair had been charged with DUI in 1996 and 2008, and his license was still suspended from the latest conviction. The defense argued that the manufacturer of the Straw´s Pontiac should also be considered liable and attempted to introduce testimony from automotive repair facilities.

After six days of testimonies, the jury took just two hours to award the Straw family $32 million compensation for their son´s death in a car crash. $20 million of the award was directly for Elijah´s wrongful death, $3 million was awarded to each Thomas and Jennifer for their injuries and emotional distress, while Elijah´s younger brother, Rowan, was awarded $6 million – $4 million of which was for his past and future emotional distress.


Injury Claim for a Cyclist Hit by a Truck Settled for $21 Million

An injury claim for a cyclist hit by a truck on Interstate 100 in Southwest Virginia has been settled for approximately $21 million during mediation.

On October 8th 2011, Michael Sprick (44) – a cross-country cyclist from Germany – was part way through his dream cycling holiday. Having arrived in Chicago a month earlier, Michael was on his way to Miami, from where he planned to fly home to Germany.

However, as he cycled along the shoulder of Interstate 100 in Pulaski County, Southwest Virginia, he was hit by a freightliner truck traveling at 55mph. Michael was thrown from his cycle and landed about 100 feet away from the point of impact.

Michael suffered severe injuries in the accident and went into cardiac arrest before he could be airlifted to hospital. As a result he suffered anoxic brain damage, and he remained in hospital for three months on a ventilator before being flown home on a medically equipped plane.

While Michael was receiving further treatment in Germany, his family made an injury claim for a cyclist hit by a truck on his behalf. The driver of the truck – Norman Merchant – initially denied liability for Michael´s injuries and said that he was forced to maneuver onto the shoulder by an oncoming vehicle.

Witnesses to the accident disagreed with Merchant´s version of events and, in December 2011, was convicted of reckless driving, fined and given a suspended sentence. With liability confirmed, the injury claim for a cyclist hit by a truck proceeded against Merchant´s employers – Hostess Brands Inc.

However, there was to be another twist in the injury claim for a cyclist hit by a truck when Hostess Brands Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Michael´s lawyers successfully moved to have the stay lifted, and refiled the claim in Virginia´s federal district court.

After an accurate assessment of Michael´s future needs was compiled, the two parties agreed on a settlement of approximately $21 million – with $13 million of the settlement being put aside to set up a fund for Michael´s future medical and life care costs.


Jury Awards Compensation for a Head Injury in a Multi-Car Pile-Up

A jury in San Diego has awarded a former student $17.3 million compensation for a head injury in a multi-car pile-up after a four week hearing.

In the fall of 2012, 24-year-old Russell Sheaffer was just completing his Ph.D. at Indiana University when he traveled to California to make a film documentary. On 3rd November, he was traveling southbound on Interstate 15, when he pulled up in a line of cars waiting at lights in Escondido.

While the cars were waiting for the lights to change, a 35,000 Freightliner driven by Thomas Mose crashed into the back of the line of cars – causing a concertina effect. Russell was thrown from his Toyota Corolla and landed in the back of the utility vehicle in front of him.

Russell was rushed to hospital suffering from concussion and several broken bones, including a broken jaw. He underwent surgery on his head injury and was checked for brain damage. He was discharged three days later, but his jaw remained wired up for a further eight weeks.

Russell sought legal advice and claimed compensation for a head injury in a multi-car pile-up. In his claim, Russell alleged that Mose had been negligent in the operation of his vehicle and his employer – NuCO2 Inc – was vicariously liable for his injuries.

NuCO2 Inc admitted liability for the accident; but, as no settlement of compensation for a head injury in a multi-car pile-up could be agreed, the case went to the Superior Court of San Diego County where it was heard by a jury before Judge Timothy Casserly to assess how much compensation Russell was entitled to.

After a four-week hearing, during which time the jury heard testimony regarding Russell´s future medical costs and his future employment prospects, the jury awarded $17.3 million compensation for a head injury in a multi-car pile-up. The compensation award covers Russell´s personal injury, his past and future medical costs, his future loss of income and his non-economic damages.


Passenger Settles Rear End Accident Injury Claim for $875,000

A painter, who suffered a debilitating spine injury while a passenger in his employer´s van, has settled his rear end accident injury claim for $875,000.

In July 2010, twenty-eight year old Gabrielle Nufris from Trenton in New Jersey was a passenger in a work van owned by his employer – DG Painting – travelling to a painting job. As the lights turned red at the intersection of Olden Avenue and Hamilton Avenue in Trenton the van came to a stop, and it was hit from behind by a car travelling at some speed.

Gabrielle suffered a spine injury in the accident, and he was taken to hospital where he was treated for a two-level disc herniation. Gabrielle had to undergo a fusion procedure to repair the damage to his herniated discs and, although he has been able to carry on working as a painter, Gabrielle still experiences pain in the base of his neck, is unable to crane his neck, and suffers from limited motion.

Yvens Joseph – the driver of the car that hit the work van – acknowledged that the rear end accident was caused by his carelessness, and he admitted liability for Gabrielle´s injuries. However, the negligent driver´s auto policy was limited to $15,000 and Gabrielle made an underinsured motorist rear end accident injury claim against Harleysville Insurance – his employer´s auto insurance company.

Following arbitration, Gabrielle was awarded $835,000 in settlement of his rear end accident injury claim; but, as the insurance policy had a provision allowing Harleysville to contest the nonbinding agreement, the insurance company demanded that the case went to a full court hearing for the assessment of damages.

A court hearing was scheduled for Gabrielle´s rear end accident injury claim to be heard by US Magistrate Judge Tonianne Bongiovanni at the US District Court for the District of New Jersey. However, prior to the court hearing taking place, an agreement was reached following discovery to settle Gabrielle´s rear end accident injury claim for $875,000.


Family Agree to Settlement of Compensation for a Passenger in a Fatal Auto Accident

The family of a man who died from a massive head trauma in a crash has agreed to a settlement of compensation for a passenger in a fatal auto accident.

On 19th October 2010, Justin Gatzke (29) was the front seat passenger in a Honda Accord driven by his girlfriend – Jennifer Bujnowski – when their car rear-ended a tractor-trailer rig improperly stopped on the service road to Route 23 in Wayne, New Jersey.

Despite wearing a seatbelt, Justin suffered a massive head trauma and was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Bujnowski (20) was found to be high on PCP and was sentenced to three years for vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated.

On behalf of Justin´s estate, his mother – Donna Galella – claimed compensation for a passenger in a fatal auto accident against Bujnowski, the driver of the rig Anthony Parravai, the company he worked for and the company from whom the rig had been rented.

Donna blamed the three defendants associated with the rig for her son´s death, as the rig had stopped illegally on the side of the road without placing a warning sign ahead of the vehicle or activating its hazard warning lights.

The three defendants denied their liability and argued it was Bujnowski´s impaired condition that was the primary cause of the accident. Unable to initially agree a settlement, a court date was scheduled. But, three days before the hearing was due to be heard at the Essex County Superior Court, a settlement of compensation for a passenger in a fatal auto accident was negotiated.

According to the terms of the settlement, Justin´s estate will receive $600,000 compensation for a passenger in a fatal auto accident – $500,000 of which will be paid by Bujnowski´s insurers. $97,500 compensation for a passenger in a fatal auto accident will be paid for by Anthony Parravai´s employer and the remaining $2,500 will come from an umbrella insurance policy taken out by Bujnowski´s mother.


Student Awarded $26 Million Compensation for Car Crash Injuries

A student from South Carolina has been awarded $26 million compensation for car crash injuries after only barely surviving a rollover accident in 2009.

In July 2009, Jeremy Vangsnes (21) from Spartanburg in South Carolina was returning to the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board in Yellowstone National Park, after having visited relatives staying in the Glacier National Park with his two brothers – Ryan (19) and Daniel (23) – and a fellow missionary student Scott Minear (20), .

As the Jeep Cherokee driven by Minear approached Billings in Montana, the vehicle drifted over onto the grass on the side of the Interstate 90. Minear tried to correct the direction of the vehicle, but he over-compensated when trying to get the Jeep Cherokee back on the road and spun the vehicle over.

Jeremy was the most severely injured of the vehicle´s four occupants, sustaining a severe blunt force trauma to the head. He was initially declared dead at the scene of the accident before being airlifted to St. Vincent´s Hospital in Billings after paramedics noticed some brain activity.

After recovering sufficiently to be allowed home to continue his rehabilitation, Jeremy´s father claimed compensation for car crash injuries on behalf of his son. In his action against the North American Mission Board it was alleged that Jeremy was acting within the course and scope of his association with the mission group at the time.

The claim for compensation for car crash injuries was disputed by the North American Mission Board, and the case proceeded to the District Court in Montana where it was heard by District Judge Mike Salvagni.

At the hearing, Judge Salvagni heard Val Simmons – the head of student missionaries for the North American Mission Board – testify that the students had been allowed to make the journey to visit relatives subject to them maintaining the board´s lifestyle and policy guidelines at all times.

Based on Simmons´ testimony, the judge ruled in Jeremy´s favor and awarded him $26 million compensation for car crash injuries. The award was made without an admission of liability by the North American Mission Board, and the Board´s insurers have said that it will not contest the award.


$1.2 Million Compensation for an Injured Motorcyclist Not Seen by the Driver

A Court in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, has awarded more than $1.2 million compensation for an injured motorcyclist who was not seen by the driver of a car as he pulled out from a Harrisburg restaurant.

On 4 June 2011, Tracey Thompson was riding her motorcycle along Derry Street in Harrisburg, when she was hit by a Toyota Corolla as it pulled out of a restaurant parking lot. Despite wearing a high visibility clothing, the driver of the vehicle – Elwood Smith – failed to see Tracy as he turned a sharp left from the parking lot into Derry Street; and he accelerated away from the parking lot of the wrong side of the road until hitting Tracey with such an impact that she was thrown over the roof of the car – landing awkwardly on the road.

Tracey was taken to the Hershey Medical Center suffering from a pelvic fracture, a sacral fracture, a broken jaw, fractures to her arm and wrist and a lacerated liver. After receiving emergency care and undergoing surgeries on her pelvis and wrist – during which time a blood filter was inserted to prevent a possible embolism – Tracey spent a week recovering in the hospital´s rehabilitation center before being confined to her bed for eight weeks. Tracey was confined to a wheelchair for the next six weeks and used a walker to aid her mobility for the following seven weeks.

Tracey made a claim for compensation for an injured motorcyclist not seen by the driver, and Smith admitted liability for Tracey´s injuries. However, Tracey´s claim was for significantly more than Smith´s insurance company was prepared to settle for due to Tracey having to leave her well-pad IT position at Commonwealth Engineering & Technology because of her injuries and take a lower paid job for the Harrisburg School District. Tracey also had to take two part-time jobs.

As there was a dispute over how much compensation for an injured motorcyclist not seen by the driver Tracey should receive, her case went to the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas, where it was heard by a jury before Judge Andrew Dowling. At the hearing the jury heard how Tracey would lose between $268,000 and $312,000 in income because of her injuries and that her life expectancy would be shortened as a consequence of the accident.

The jury awarded Tracey just over $1.2 million compensation for an injured motorcyclist not seen by the driver to account for the pain and suffering she had experienced at the time of the accident, the wrist pain she continues to experience and her future medical costs. Her loss of income and the reduction in her life expectancy were also included in the jury award.


Paralyzed Driver Awarded $14 Million Compensation for a Truck Accident

A driver who was paralyzed when his faultily-service truck went out of control has been awarded $14 million compensation for a truck accident after a hearing at Mobile County Circuit Court.

Colin Lacy from Mobile, Alabama, was driving his employer´s tractor-trailer along Interstate 10 near Niceville in Florida when – on July 14th 2011 – he lost control of the vehicle. He tried to stop the truck safely, but the antilock brake system failed and the vehicle overturned.

Colin´s spine was severed in the accident and as a result spent more than two months in hospital followed by a long period of intense rehabilitation. He is now paralyzed from the waist down and will be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

After speaking with a lawyer, Colin claimed compensation for a truck accident against Empire Truck Sales LLC – the company who serviced his truck shortly before the accident – and the manufacturer of the vehicle´s seat belt, Indiana Mills and Manufacturing Inc.

In his claim for compensation for a truck accident, Colin alleged that his employer´s truck had been serviced by Empire Truck Sales in June; but three days before the accident he had noticed that the truck was vibrating and had returned it to the dealer for an inspection.

The mechanics at Empire Truck Sales failed to notice that a lateral rod had been left detached during the original service and allowed Colin to drive it away.

The claim for compensation against Indiana Mills and Manufacturing Inc. was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum; but no agreement could be reached on how much compensation for a truck accident Colin was entitled to from Empire Truck Sales.

Consequently the case went to Mobile County Circuit Court, where it was presented to a jury before Judge Michael Youngpeter. Although both the plaintiff and the defendant were based in Mobile, the trial was heard under the laws of Florida – where the accident happened – and the jury was asked to rule of what proportion of blame should be attributed to Empire Truck Sales.

After two weeks of testimony, the jury retired to consider their verdict. While they were deliberating a “High/Low” arrangement was agreed between the parties so that Colin was assured of a minimum $2 million compensation for a truck accident and a maximum of $14 million. Consequently when the jury returned a verdict of $18.79 million, the $14 million cap was applied to the settlement.


Teacher Awarded Compensation for a Car Accident with a Drunk Driver

A teacher from Philadelphia has been awarded $700,000 compensation for a car accident with a drunk driver after an arbitration hearing in Pennsylvania.

Diane Richman was driving through the streets of Philadelphia when, in May 2011, she was rear-ended by Augustine Roth. Roth fled the scene of the accident, but was later arrested by the police and found to have been under the influence when the accident happened.

Diane suffered cervical spine injuries in the accident and concussion. She continued to work as a fourth-grade teacher for a while after the accident but, in 2014, took early retirement as the ongoing neck pain she was experiencing was affecting her ability to teach.

After speaking with a lawyer, Diane claimed compensation for a car accident with a drunk driver against her own insurance company – Liberty Bell – as Roth was underinsured. Liberty Bell contested the claim on the grounds that Diane´s alleged injuries were not supported by evidence.

Liberty Bell also questioned the amount that was being claimed – insisting that Diane had continued working for three years to ensure that she did not lose any money from her pension plan and argued that her injuries were not the reason for her taking early retirement.

Diane´s claim for compensation for a car accident with a drunk driver went to arbitration, where financial experts were produced to testify to the three-person arbitration panel that Diane´s early retirement had cost her between $553,000 and $1.3 million in income depending on how long she would have carried on teaching if her accident had not occurred.

The arbitration panel told the insurance company that the fact Diane had continued teaching after her car accident with the drunk driver was irrelevant in the context of the case and she was fully entitled to recover her lost income.

The panel awarded Diane $373,840 for her economic loss and $300,000 for her pain and suffering. Diane´s husband Richard was also awarded $21,160 compensation for a car accident with a drunk driver for his loss of consortium – bringing the total settlement of the claim to $700,000.


Jury Awards Compensation for Injuries in a Bus Accident

A Philadelphia jury has awarded fifteen plaintiffs $4.3 million in compensation for injuries in a bus accident, bring the total value of the claim to $5.7 million.

The claim for compensation for injuries in a bus accident was brought by passengers who were injured in a May 2010 crash; when the brakes on a bus operated by Del Val Staffing failed and the vehicle flipped over on the junction of Kensington and Allegheny avenues in Port Richmond, Philadelphia, after hitting a telegraph pole.

The top of the back of the bus was sheared off in the accident, resulting in fifteen of the twenty-two passengers on board needing hospital treatment. Charles Hill – the most seriously injured passenger – was taken to the Hahnemann University Hospital suffering from a traumatic brain injury, and subdural and subarachnoid hemorrhaging.

Hill remained in hospital for a month – during which time he underwent surgery for a fractured skull and broken collarbone – and was then transferred to the Magee Rehabilitation Center. Despite intensive therapy, Hill is no longer able to care for himself and has since been placed in a residential support facility.

Using a guardian ad litem, Hill made a claim for compensation for injuries in a bus accident on his behalf and on behalf of the other passengers injured in the accident. In the claim he alleged that Frankford Auto Sales and City Car Sales were negligent in servicing and garaging the bus, and that Del Val Staffing – his employers – were liable as it was one of the company´s employees who had been driving the bus.

Frankford Auto Sales and City Car Sales settled their portion of the claim for $1.44 million in December 2013, but Del Val Staffing argued that they were not liable to pay compensation for injuries in a bus accident because Hill and the other passengers were “engaged in the course and scope of their employment” when the accident happened, and therefore should only be entitled to workers comp.

The case went before a jury at the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia, who found that Del Val Staffing failed in their duty of care to protect their employees from danger. The jury awarded Hill and the other plaintiffs $4.3 million compensation for injuries in a bus accident – bringing the total amount the claim was settled for up to $5.7 million.


Some Drivers being Denied Compensation for Car Accident Injuries in Las Vegas due to New Policy

Nevada lawyers have claimed that some drivers are being denied compensation for car accident injuries in Las Vegas due to Metro´s new policy of not attending “no-injury” collisions.

On the 3rd of March, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (Metro) announced that it was no longer going to attend car accidents in which there was no obvious injury. Metro also announced that it would no longer accept crash reports, which instead should be reported to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles for record-keeping purposes.

The new policy has not only caused confusion among drivers who have only sustained property damage, but has – according to some Nevada lawyers – also resulted in drivers being denied compensation for car accident injuries in Las Vegas when the injuries do not become apparent for hours or days after an accident has occurred.

The issues with the new policy are that – formerly – a Metro officer´s opinion of who was to blame for an accident would be sufficient for an insurance company to settle claims for compensation for car accident injuries in Las Vegas. Without that independent and experienced opinion, a number of motorists (it is claimed) have abandoned their personal injury claims due to a perceived lack of evidence.

Similarly, when claims go to court, although a Metro officer´s opinion was not admissible as evidence, he or she would have been able to testify as to statements made by the plaintiff and defendant and his or her observations. Without this unbiased presence, Nevada lawyers claim that it is becoming more difficult for drivers to claim compensation for car accident injuries in Las Vegas.

The lawyers advise that drivers injured in car accidents in Las Vegas should follow similar procedures to what the Metro would have done prior to the implementation of this new policy:

  • Take photographs of the roadway and the number plates of the other vehicles involved in the accident
  • Personally record the vehicle´s registration (don´t rely on somebody else to do this), driver´s license and insurance card
  • Take a note of the contact information for any witnesses who saw the accident, even if you believe you have sustained no injuries

Thereafter, complete a traffic accident form and submit it to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles. As soon as you suspect that you have been injured in the accident, seek professional medical attention and then contact a lawyer to discuss your entitlement to compensation for car accident injuries in Las Vegas.


Claim for Death due to Dangerous Road Condition Heard at Superior Court

A jury has awarded $425,000 compensation to the mother of a man who was killed in an auto accident, after her claim for death due to a dangerous road condition was heard at the Superior Court of California in San Diego.

On 28th August 2012, Mary Helen Aguilar was driving her Honda Odyssey on California State Route 78 in San Diego, when she collided head-on with a Pontiac Vibe driven by Francisco Perez. Mary Helen, two of her daughters and Francisco were killed in the accident.

A third daughter was severely injured and is now in a paraplegic condition due to the head injuries she sustained in the accident, while a fourth daughter suffered multiple orthopedic injuries. The front seat passenger in the Honda Odyssey – Gail Romero – suffered serious orthopedic injuries and a head trauma.

As Francisco had been working at the time of the accident, Mary Helen´s surviving daughters made a claim for the wrongful death of their mother against Francisco´s employer – Tricor America Inc – and Mary Helen´s former husband also claimed for the loss of his two daughters. Gail Romero also sought compensation for her personal injuries, and her husband made a claim for loss of consortium.

Tricor America settled the claims made against the company, but then – together with Francisco´s mother Mercedes Perez – made a claim for death due to a dangerous road condition against the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), claiming that the accident had occurred due to a hazardous stretch of road which the department had been advised of and which it had failed to maintain.

In their action against Caltrans, the plaintiffs contended that the stretch of State Route 78 in which the accident happened constituted a dangerous condition of public property due to a high pavement edge on the north shoulder of the roadway. They claimed that this dangerous condition was a substantial factor in causing the crash and that Caltrans had corrected the opposite shoulder fourteen months earlier but had never got around to fixing the side responsible for the accident.

The jury agreed that State Route 78 was in a dangerous condition and that Caltrans was at fault. They ordered Caltrans to indemnify Tricor for the compensation it had already paid in settlement of the previous claims and for the property damage to the Pontiac Vibe that was being driven at the time of the accident by Francisco Perez.

The jury also awarded Mercedes Perez $425,000 in settlement of her claim for death due to a dangerous road condition to account for her loss of love, care, comfort, society and support occasioned by her son´s death.


Jury Awards almost $6 Million Compensation for Airbag Failing to Deploy

A jury at the Court of Common Pleas in Lackawanna has awarded almost $6 million compensation for an air bag failing to deploy in an auto crash, due to which the driver suffered serious injuries.

On August 20, 2010, John Cancelleri (83) from Spring Brook Township in Pennsylvania was driving south along Route 309 in his Mercury Sable, when a Ford Mustang traveling in the opposite direction made a left turn immediately in front of him – resulting in a head-on collision.

John´s Mercury Sable was equipped with an airbag, but it failed to deploy as the two cars collided – resulting in John striking his head on the steering wheel and suffering a herniated disc at C7-T1, which resulted in lower extremity paralysis.

John underwent an anterior decompression of the spinal cord on his arrival at hospital, with spinal cooling, and a cervical fusion. He was discharged from a rehabilitation facility in December 2010, but was re-admitted to hospital in September 2011 due to multiple urinary tract infections, severe neck pain, episodes of falling, and the discovery that John had suffered a collapse of his cervical spine.

John continues to suffer from bowel and bladder issues, and has had treatment for pneumonia and an ulcer on the coccyx which his doctors attribute to the treatment he first underwent after the auto crash. He is confined to a wheelchair and has also developed diabetes since his accident. John´s doctors believe he will require ongoing care for the rest of his life due to the airbag failing to deploy.

After seeking legal advice, John claimed compensation for the airbag failing to deploy against the Ford Motor Co. and Ray Price Motors Inc., claiming that the vehicle was designed, manufactured, distributed and sold by Ford and Ray Price, and that the crash sensor malfunctioned due to a deficiently designed restraint control module.

The two defendants denied their liability for John´s injuries and said that accident was a moderate offset head-on collision which did not meet the threshold for the deployment of the airbag. Ford argued that the safety system was safely designed, crashworthy, free from defects and in compliance with all internal and federal standards.

John´s lawyer attempted to settle the claim for compensation for an airbag failing to deploy for $5 million; but all that Ford was willing to settle for was $415,000. Consequently the case went to the Court of Common Pleas in Lackawanna where it was heard by a jury before Judge James Gibbons.

At the hearing, John´s lawyer told the jury that the velocity of the impact had exceeded Ford´s specification for the deployment of the airbag, and showed evidence that the passenger airbag had deployed despite no passenger being in the car at the time of the accident.

 The defendants´ lawyers argued that John´s injuries could not have been attributable to the airbag failing to deploy because the seat belt would have prevented him from sustaining the injuries he was claiming for. They argued that John´s condition was due to degeneration, age and previous medical problems which included demobilizing edema and venous thrombosis.

After hearing arguments from both sides, the jury found that the airbag was deficiently designed, that a safer version was available, and that the failure of the airbag to deploy was responsible for John´s injuries. The jury awarded John $5,920,707 compensation for an airbag failing to deploy, which included compensation for his pain and suffering, medical expenses and loss of consortium with his wife.


Jury Awards Woman $15.8 Million Compensation for Brain Injury in Car Crash

An Allegheny County jury has awarded a Pennsylvania woman $15.8 million compensation for a brain injury in a car crash.

Brenda Gump (52) was being driven by her son to her daughter´s rehearsal dinner in June 2010 when their car was hit by a Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Adam Mains as they were turning into the Primanti Brothers Restaurant off of State Route 51.

Brenda suffered a severe brain injury as a result of the collision and was resuscitated at the scene by a member of her family who was also attending the rehearsal dinner. Brenda was taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center and then transferred to UPMC Mercy to undergo an emergency lobotomy.

Brenda was subsequently diagnosed with an acute subdural hematoma and hemorrhagic brain injury. She had to undergo a tracheotomy and have a gastric feeding tube installed, and now suffers from permanent left-sided paralysis, epilepsy, an eating disorder, and emotional instability.

An investigation into the accident found that fault for the accident was shared between the driver of the Chevrolet – Adam Mains, who had admitted to police that he had been speeding – and persons responsible for a bridge re-construction site that had obscured Daniel Gump´s vision as he made the turn into the restaurant.

Subsequent to the investigation also revealing that the blind spot created by the bridge re-construction work had been responsible for five other auto accidents on the same stretch of road, Brenda´s family claimed compensation for a brain injury in a car crash against Mains, Lanes Construction – the company overseeing the bridge re-construction – and PennDOT, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

In their action against Lanes Construction and PennDOT it was alleged that they failed to notice the lack of visibility caused by the bridge re-construction or mitigate the problem. Both defendants denied their liability for Brenda´s injuries and argued that the lane closures and merging points on the site were necessary, that the building work had not impaired visibility, and that the pattern of work was consistent with accepted engineering practices.

With no negotiated resolution to the family´s claim for compensation, the case proceeded to Allegheny County Court where it was heard by a jury. After arguments had been presented by both sides, the jury found in Brenda´s favor and awarded her $15.8 million in compensation for a brain injury in a car crash.

The settlement was broken down as $4.8 million for medical expenses, $7 million for pain and suffering and $4 million for loss of enjoyment of life. The jury found Adam Mains 42% liable for Brenda´s injuries, PennDOT 40% liable and Lane Construction 18% liable.


Claim for Neck Injuries in Rear-End Accident Resolved after Hearing

A woman´s claim for neck injuries in a rear-end accident has been resolved for $3.1 million after a trial at the Superior Court of California in Pasadena.

Teresa Gamage brought her claim for neck injuries in a rear-end accident after being hurt in a low-impact collision in May 2011. The car in which she was a front seat passenger had stopped at a red light on Spalding Drive near Olympic Boulevard in Los Angeles when it was hit from behind by a vehicle driven by Estelle Roitblat.

Teresa felt a pain in her neck immediately and sought medical attention the same day. An MRI scan revealed a ruptured disc at C5-6 which was pressing against her spinal cord and causing her considerable pain. Teresa attempted to manage the pain with epidural injections and physical therapy, but in November 2011 had to undergo fusion surgery.

After seeking legal advice, Teresa made a claim for neck injuries in the rear-end accident – a claim which Roitblat contested on the grounds that the impact between the two cars was insufficient to cause such a serious injury. Roitblat´s insurance carriers also argued that the amount that was being claimed was excessive.

In order to make the claim for neck injuries in a rear-end accident “go away”, Roitblat´s insurers offered Teresa $87,000 – a fraction of the expenses she had paid for her medical treatment, and the offer was rejected. The case proceeded to the Superior Court of California in Pasadena before Judge Jan Pluim, where it was presented to a jury.

During the trial, Roitblat´s attorneys argued that there was no justification for Teresa´s claim or the amount of compensation she was demanding; however, after four hours of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Teresa and awarded her $3.1 million compensation in resolution of her claim for neck injuries from a rear-end accident.


Las Vegas Motorcycle Accident Victim is 50th Traffic-Related Fatality of 2014

A 25-year old man, who died in a Las Vegas motorcycle accident earlier this week, has been identified as John Thomas Strunk by the Clark County Coroner´s Office.

John Strunk became the fiftieth person to die this year in a traffic-related accident within the Las Vegas Metropolitan District, when he was fatally injured in a two-vehicle accident at the intersection of Lamb Boulevard and East Russell Road.

According to police reports, Strunk was driving his 2014 Yamaha motorcycle eastbound on East Russell Road at about 2:30pm in the afternoon, when a Chevrolet Equinox travelling westbound attempted a sudden left turn into Lamb Boulevard.

Strunk rode straight into the back of the Chevrolet and was killed at the scene. The 73-year-old driver of the Chevrolet was taken to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center to receive treatment for minor injuries. Police are still investigating the Las Vegas motorcycle accident.

Fatal motorcycle accidents in Nevada – particularly in Clark County – are once again showing a year-on-year increase in 2014. The latest statistics available from the Nevada Department of Transport indicate that motorcycle accidents account for just 1.08% of all collisions, but 13.04% of fatal collisions.

A comparison of accidents involving motorcycles and accidents involving four-door sedans shows that motorcycle accidents are more likely to cause injury and death. A victim in a Las Vegas motorcycle accident is likely to be injured four-out-of-five times (fatally one-in-twenty times), whereas drivers of four-door sedans will only suffer an injury in one-out-of-three accidents (fatally one-in-four-hundred).


Families Awarded Compensation for Restaurant´s Failure to Provide Safe Environment

The families of two teenagers, who died after an attack in a McDonalds parking lot, have been awarded $27 million compensation for a restaurant´s failure to provide a safe environment.    

In February 2012, Denton James Ward (18) of Flower Mound, Texas, and his girlfriend Lauren Bailey Crisp (19) of Dripping Springs in Texas visited the McDonalds restaurant in College Station. As the couple walked through the McDonalds parking lot, Denton was viciously attacked by a group of 15-20 youths who kicked him and stomped on him while he was lying on the ground.

Denton possibly died from his injuries sustained in the parking lot attack, but Lauren tried to save his life by putting him into her vehicle and driving to the nearest hospital. However, while she was on the way to the hospital, Lauren ran a red light and was hit by a pick-up truck – an accident which resulted in her death.

The families of the two teenage victims made a claim against McDonalds for compensation for the restaurant´s failure to provide a safe environment on the grounds that the College Station branch of McDonalds had a history of late-night trouble, but the restaurant had failed to employ security guards or install CCTV to monitor disturbances and identify those responsible.

McDonalds denied their liability for the two deaths – arguing that there was no evidence to prove that either teenager had died on their premises – and the case proceeded to 361st District Court in Bryan, Texas, where before Judge Steve Smith and a jury, the families of the two victims produced evidence that local police had been called to the restaurant on more than twenty occasions during 2012 to break up fights.

Despite the evidence to the contrary – and one of the attackers being identified and sentenced to 90 days for assault – two McDonalds managers who were working on the night in question testified that they had never been aware of any violence at the restaurant. Despite their claims that the restaurant was a safe environment, the jury found in the two families favor, and awarded the family of Lauren Crisp $11 million compensation for the restaurant´s failure to provide a safe environment, and the family of Denton Ward $16 million.

It is anticipated that McDonalds will appeal the verdict of the jury.


Woman to Receive Compensation for Cycling Accident Injuries after Court Hearing

A former student, who suffered incapacitating injuries when she was run over by a van while trying to avoid a collision with the opening door of a parked automobile, is to receive more than $2.4 million compensation for her cycling accident injuries after a court hearing.

Ashley McKean was cycling along Broad Street in Philadelphia – close to the Temple University at which she was a student – when the door of a parked vehicle opened immediately in front of her. Ashley swerved in an attempt to avoid a collision, but she caught her right thigh against the automobile´s door – bringing her bicycle to a stop and causing the rear wheel to fishtail out into a busy lane of traffic.

A van in the outside lane hit the bicycle from behind – propelling Ashley forwards in front of the van – and then ran over her left leg as the driver was unable to stop in time to avoid hitting her. Ashley suffered multiple fractures in the cycling accident and she had to undergo surgery for a subsequent urinary tract infection and bowel dysfunction.

Ashley sought legal advice and claimed compensation for her cycling accident injuries against Marci Shepard – the driver of the automobile who opened the door in her path – and Robert Crawford, the driver of the van who had been unable to stop in time and who had caused the majority of her serious injuries.

Both defendants denied their liability for Ashley´s injuries – Shepard contesting that Ashley was not looking where she was going and, in any event, should have been cycling on the sidewalk; while Crawford argued that he could possibly be considered responsible for Ashley´s injuries as it had been Shepard who had caused the accident.

Ashley´s claim for cycling accident injuries compensation went to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas where it was heard before Judge Jacqueline F Allen and a 12-member jury. At the end of a week of evidence, the jury decided to distribute liability between Ashley (21%), Robert Crawford (36%) and Marci Shepard (43%) and awarded Ashley $1.3 million compensation for her pain and suffering, $880,000 for her future medical expenses and $225,000 to account for her permanent scars.


Passenger to Receive $15 Million Compensation for a Back Injury on a Bus

A woman is to receive almost $15 million compensation for a back injury on a bus after the vehicle on which she was travelling went over a speed bump at twice the legal speed limit.

On 27 August 2011, Maria Francisco (20) from Richmond in California, her four-year-old daughter Mia and other members of her family were passengers on a bus operated by Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (“AC Transit”), traveling to the local mall to buy presents for a birthday celebration.

As the bus was passing a school zone, it hit a speed bump at 30mph – twice the legal speed limit – and Maria was pitched into the air, landing awkwardly against the edge of the plastic seat. Maria´s family asked the bus driver – Dollie Gilmore – to stop and summon an ambulance, but instead Gilmore verbally abused Maria and accused her of feigning her injury.

An ambulance was eventually called, and Maria was taken to the John Muir Medical Center where she was diagnosed with a severe burst fracture to her L1 vertebra. Maria has had to undergo three surgeries – including the fusion of her lower vertebra – still suffers from chronic pain and is severely limited in her daily activities.

After seeking legal advice, Maria made a claim for compensation for a back injury on a bus against AC Transit who – despite the presence of a CCTV camera in the bus clearly showing the accident and the verbal abuse that Maria endured subsequently – denied their liability for her injuries until two days before the claim for a back injury on a bus was scheduled to be heard before Hon. Gail Brewster Bereola at the Superior Court of California in Alameda County.

Maria´s attorneys recommended that she reject the proposed $2.75 million out-of-court settlement, and the trial went ahead – with AC Transit arguing that the extent of Maria´s back injury was exaggerated, that the surgery she underwent was unnecessary and that she was perfectly able to continue the normal life of a mother with a young child.

However the jury disagreed with AC Transit´s arguments and, after seeing the videotape of the accident, awarded Maria $10 million compensation for a back injury on a bus, with an additional $3.3 million for past and future medical expenses, $800,000 for future loss of earnings and $127,000 for past lost family services. The jury also awarded Maria´s four-year-old daughter Mia $1 million compensation for the emotional distress she had suffered relating to her mother´s accident.


Woman´s Award of Car Crash Injury Compensation Upheld after Appeal

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has upheld an award of $10.5 million car crash injury compensation in favor of a woman who was severely injured when her vehicle was forced into a utility pole by an out-of-control dump truck.

In May 2010, Theodus Williams was driving a Mack dump truck loaded with stone thru Scranton, Pennsylvania, headed for the Marjol Battery Site in Throop. As he drove down Dundaff Street, Williams lost control of his vehicle and the truck ran into a line of vehicles – forcing a Toyota SUV driven by Holly Ann Kuchwara into a utility pole.

Holly Ann suffered fractured vertebrae in the accident, along with a shattered ankle and a blunt force head trauma. She still bears visible scars on her face from the accident and is still undergoing surgery for her injured back.

A police investigation into the accident found that the truck had brake and steering deficiencies, a faulty speedometer and that Williams had been driving with an expired medical examination certificate. Williams and his employer – Valvano Construction of Dickson City, PA – were charged with sixteen vehicle safety violations.

Holly Ann made a claim for car crash injuries against Williams and Valvano Construction, against which the two defendants neither made a defense nor an offer of settlement. Consequently it was left to the jury at the Pennsylvania Court of Pleas to consider what represented a fair settlement of compensation for car crash injuries.

Their verdict of $10.5 million was comprised of $9.1 million in compensatory damages, $1 million in punitive damages and $400,000 in delay damages; however, attorneys for Valvano Construction felt that this was too much and appealed the decision.

Last week a three-judge panel at the Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld the award; stating that the jury had been properly instructed, and that the amount of $10.5 million in car crash injury compensation was lower than the plaintiff´s attorneys believed the jury would award.


Compensation for Injuries in a Hit and Run Accident Awarded to Philadelphia Couple

A couple, who both suffered back damage in a rear-end collision, are to receive compensation for injuries in a hit and run accident after a court hearing in Philadelphia.

George Sabu (39) and his wife Mebitha (31) were driving along North 5th Street in Philadelphia on 10 September 2012, when they were hit from behind by a vehicle which then sped away from the scene of the accident.

Both George and Mebitha were taken to the Holy Redeemer Hospital, where they were treated for their injuries and discharged – later to attend the Spinal Rehab Network when pain developed in their necks, backs and – in Mebitha´s case – her head.

Mebitha underwent an MRI, which revealed L5-S1 disc desiccation and damage to her bilateral L5-S1 nerve roots, while George was discovered to have damaged his L3-4 disc and suffered an L4-5 desiccation with a central herniation impinging on the thecal sac.

Both George and Mebitha were treated with physical therapy, electrical stimulation, massage, exercise and spinal manipulation, and George now has to have injections to manage his ongoing pain.

Fortunately the license plate number of the car that had hit the couple had been recorded, and a compensation claim for injuries in a hit and run accident was made against Larry Sharp – the driver of the vehicle – and Jalonda Hall, the owner of the vehicle, on the grounds that he was vicariously liable.

Both defendants denied the claim made against them, and then entered the defense that Mebitha´s injuries were subjective, while George´s injuries were due to an existing degenerative condition and were not caused by the hit and run accident.

Both parties introduced medical experts to argue their case in court, but after a five-day hearing, the jury found in favor of the plaintiffs, and awarded George $150,000 compensation for injuries in a hit and run accident, with Mebitha being awarded $100,000.


Man to Receive Compensation for Losing Leg in Car Accident

A Philadelphia man is to receive $19.1 million compensation for losing a leg in a car crash after a judge denied one of the defendants a new trial.

Patrick Hennessey (24) from Philadelphia in Pennsylvania was a passenger in a car driven by his friend Ryan Caruso, when – on 26th July 2009 – Caruso accidently rear-ended another vehicle driven by Bruce Reikow on Roosevelt Boulevard in Bensalem.

Caruso´s car would not start after the rear-end accident, so he and Patrick Hennessy started to push the car off the roadway – shepherded by Reikow, who had the hazard lights flashing on his vehicle to warn other motorists of the danger.

However, the flashing hazard lights failed to prevent a third car – driven by Shawn Robertson – driving into the back of Reikow´s vehicle. Robertson´s car then spun to the side of the road and into Patrick Hennessey – causing Hennessey to suffer a severe leg injury which ultimately resulted in the amputation of the leg above the knee.

Patrick claimed compensation for losing a leg in the car accident against Caruso, Reikow and Robertson; but, at the subsequent court case, the claim against Bruce Reikow was dismissed and the jury found both Caruso and Robertson liable for Patrick´s injuries – awarding Patrick $19.1 million compensation for losing a leg in an accident and attributing 45% of the liability to Caruso.

Caruso appealed the decision, and requested a new trial, claiming that although he had caused the initial accident, he was not responsible for the sequence of events which resulted in Patrick losing his leg.

However, at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Judge John Milton Younge found against the appeal – stating that the second accident would not have happened if it had not been for Caruso´s negligent driving which caused the first accident, and therefore the extent of Patrick´s injuries after the first accident was irrelevant.


Motorcyclist Identified in Las Vegas DUI Accident

A motorcyclist, who was killed in a Las Vegas DUI accident, has been identified as Ian Arche by the Clarke County Coroner´s Office.

Arche (40) from Las Vegas was fatally injured on 14th April when the motorcycle he was riding was involved in a collision with a Ford Explorer driven by Francisco Contreras-DeJesus (41) – also from Las Vegas. According to police reports, Contreras-DeJesus was attempting a left turn out of Pecos Road into Hacienda Avenue when the accident happened just before 6:00pm in the evening.

Witness statements indicate that, as Contreras-DeJesus pulled out from Pecos Road, Arche – who was travelling along Hacienda Avenue – lost control of his motorbike, fell from it and slid into Contreras-DeJesus´ vehicle. Arche was taken to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, where he died on his injuries.

At the scene of the accident, police became aware that Contreras-DeJesus smelled of alcohol, his words were slurred and his eyes were bloodshot. He subsequently failed a field sobriety test and later a preliminary breath test. Police later charged Contreras-DeJesus with one count of felony driving under the influence resulting in death.

Contreras-DeJesus faces a jail term of between 1 and 20 years for causing Arche´s death in the Las Vegas DUI accident and, despite the stiff penalties for driving under the influence, 82 people lost their lives in a Las Vegas DUI accident in 2012 where the negligent party had a blood-alcohol content level of 0.8% or higher.

2012 was the fourth straight year in which the number of alcohol-related deaths in Nevada road traffic accidents had increased, and due to the number of repeat offenders on the roads in Nevada, road safety organizations are calling for tougher penalties for those responsible for causing a Las Vegas DUI accident and the introduction of compulsory ignition interlock devices.


Families Awarded Compensation for Fatal Crash with Police Vehicle

Two families are to receive compensation for a fatal car crash with a police vehicle after a settlement was agreed just days before the case was scheduled to be heard at the Superior Court of Kern County.

Chrystal Jolley (30) and Daniel Hiler (25) were both fatally injured when, on 16th December 2011, a police patrol vehicle driven by Deputy John Swearengin hit the two friends as they were pushing a motorcycle across Norris Road in Bakersfield.

The accident was investigated by the California Highway Patrol, who found that Deputy Swearengin was traveling at a speed of 80mph in a 45mph zone without sirens or lights, and that he had taken his eyes off the road shortly before hitting Chrystal and Daniel.

The families of the two victims made a claim for compensation for a fatal crash with a police vehicle on the grounds that Swearengin – whose criminal prosecution is pending – had violated both the California Vehicle Code and the Kern County Sheriff’s Department policies by causing death by reckless driving.

The County of Kern – against who the claim for a fatal crash with a police vehicle was made – contested the claim by saying that Deputy Swearengin had been responding to a call of a stolen vehicle when the crash occurred, and that Daniel was intoxicated at the time of the accident and that his intoxication contributed to the accident occurring.

The claim was scheduled to be heard by the Superior Court of Kern County, but just days before opening arguments were to be heard, a settlement of compensation for a fatal crash with a police vehicle was negotiated which will see Chrystal´s family receive $4 million, and Daniel´s family receive $4.4 million.


Claim for Back Seat Passenger Injured in Rear End Accident Resolved in Court

A 71-year old woman has resolved her claim for a back seat passenger injured in a rear end accident after a hearing at the Superior Court of Riverside County.

Soledad DeSantiago was a back seat passenger in a car hit from behind as it was approaching a red light at the intersection of Van Buren Boulevard and Village W Drive in Riverside.

According to court papers, the accident occurred on 10 January 2011, when driver Bryan Montano failed to be attentive to the slowing traffic, and drove his tow-truck into the vehicle in which Soledad was traveling.

Soledad was taken to hospital by ambulance; where she was treated for soft-tissue injuries and given an MRI. The MRI revealed a bulging cervical disc and cervical radiculopathy, for which she underwent a decompression operation which was followed by several months of physiotherapy.

Soledad made a compensation claim for a back seat passenger injured in a rear end accident against Montano and the joint owners of the tow-truck – Armada Trucking and American Towing Service Inc. – alleging that Montano was driving negligently and that the owners of the truck were vicariously liable as Montano was employed by them.

The three defendants acknowledged their liability for Soledad´s injuries on the opening day of the subsequent hearing at the Superior Court of Riverside County, but contested the amount of compensation that was being claimed by Soledad´s legal representatives.

They produced evidence that Soledad had a pre-existing neck condition prior to the accident and that she would have had to have undergone surgery and physiotherapy within five years even if the rear-end accident had not happened.

The hearing was dominated by legal and medical arguments for five days, after which the jury deliberated for a further two days before awarding Soledad $735,536 in resolution of her compensation claim for a back seat passenger injured in a rear end accident to account for her past and future pain and suffering, the medical bills she has already incurred, and those she will incur in the future.


Parents Awarded $5.5 Million Compensation for Death of Son in Road Traffic Accident

The parents of a man who sustained fatal injuries in a collision with a tractor-trailer have been awarded $5.5 million compensation for the death of their son in a road traffic accident.

On 18 August 2008, Mark A McConnell II (22) was driving his car in Mahoning County in Ohio, when a tractor-trailer driven by Andrew Johnson ignored a stop-sign and flashing red lights, and pulled out of an intersection straight into McConnell´s path.

The two vehicles collided at right angles and the force of the impact sent McConnell´s car across the intersection, where the front driver´s side of the vehicle smashed into two utility poles. McConnell was cut from the wreckage of his car and airlifted to hospital, but went into cardiac arrest before the helicopter landed and could not be resuscitated.

After an investigation into the crash, McConnell´s parents – Mark Snr and Vickie McConnell – made a claim for compensation for the death of their son in a road traffic accident against Andrew Johnson and his joint employers – Guru Global Logistics LLC and Howard Truckline.

Howard Truckline settled the claim against them before the case went before Judge Dominick Motto at the Lawrence County High Court, but Andrew Johnson maintained that he was not at fault for the accident by arguing that McConnell was speeding, and Guru Logistics claimed that Johnson was not working for the company at the time.

However, after a lengthy trial, the jury found in favour of McConnell´s parents and awarded them $5.465 million compensation for the death of a son in a road traffic accident – $2.1 million for the loss of future earning capacity, $3 million for the parents loss of services, society and comfort, and the balance for their son´s conscious pain and suffering. Liability for damages was divided 70/30 between Global Logistics and Andrew Johnson.


Estates of Victims Receive Compensation for Death due to Drunken Driving

The estates of two young adults are to receive compensation for death due to drunken driving, along with two others who survived the accident, after a hearing in Pittsburgh.

A jury at the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas heard how, on September 26 2009, Amanda Delval (22) was driving along Mifflin Road in Pittsburgh when her car was in collision with another driven by Timothy Lesko; who had crashed into Amanda´s car after crossing the center line at a speed of 70mph.

Amanda suffered a back injury as a result of the accident; but her three passengers were more seriously injured – Michael Trail (20) broke one femur and Michael´s sister – Jessica (24) – was killed in the accident, while William Grice (26) suffered two fractured femurs and died from an overdose of pain medication in April 2010.

Police attending the scene recoded that Lesko had a blood alcohol level of .226 percent due to having just left a “Gun Bash” hosted by Pittsburgh Lodge No. 11 Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks at which he had consumed at least ten beers. He was given a prison sentence after being found guilty of driving under the influence and motor vehicle homicide.

The estates of William Grice and Jessica Trail made a claim for compensation for death due to drunken driving, and the action was joined by Michael Trail and Amanda Delval as co-plaintiffs. The action also alleged that the Protective Order of Elks were negligent as there had been no alcohol safety training in breach of the Dram Act and that organizers of the “all you can drink” event should have prevented Lesko from driving after he had been allowed to serve himself from an unmonitored beer station.

Lawyers representing the Protective Order of Elks contested the Order´s liability, and introduced twenty witnesses into the proceedings who testified that Lesko displayed no signs of being intoxicated at the event. They argued that the Order could not have foreseen that the accident was likely to happen, that William Grice´s death was unconnected with the accident and that any compensation for death due to drunken driving should take into account that Jessica Trail was a waitress who earned less than $8,000 per year.

Lawyers for the four plaintiffs argued that none of the witnesses that testified to Lesko´s state of intoxication knew Lesko, and produced a relative who testified that Lesko was slurring his speech and staggering before getting into his car.

After the hearing which lasted three weeks, the Allegheny jury deliberated for two days and found that the Protective Order of Elks supply of unlimited alcohol to Lesko was a contributory factor to the accident occurring. They also found that William Grice´s death was accidental and that his estate was entitled to compensation for death due to drunken driving.

The jury considered that the Protective Order of Elks were allocated 40% liable for the accident, and awarded the four plaintiffs a total of $18.1 million compensation – with the estates of William Grice and Jessica Trail receiving $8.8 million and $7.8 million respectively, while Michael Tate was awarded $1.1 million and Amanda Delval $400,000 for their injuries in the fatal accident.


Truck Driver Claim for Injury Compensation Resolved by Mediation

A man from Porterville, Tulare County, who sustained serious injuries when he swerved his vehicle to avoid hitting a hay bale that had fallen from a tractor, has resolved his truck driver claim for injury compensation without a court hearing.

On May 12, 2012, Chris Alcantara was driving a loaded milk tanker along a back road near to the town of Pixley, when he swerved to avoid hitting a hay bale that had fallen from the back of a tractor and overturned his Freightliner as it came off the road.

Chris suffered serious injuries in the accident including broken ribs, fractured vertebrae, broken jaw, broken nose, dislocated shoulder and a severe tear in his rotator cuff ligament. He was trapped inside his vehicle for 45 minutes, and had to be cut free by emergency personnel.

Chris was taken by helicopter to the Community Regional Medical Centre in Tulare, where he was treated for his injuries and the cuts he had sustained in the accident. He was discharged from the medical center after four days, but re-admitted on May 18 because of the severe pain he was experiencing from his broken ribs and facial injuries.

Later in the year, Chris underwent two surgical procedures to repair the damage to his left shoulder and he still suffers from chronic post traumatic headaches which prevent him from sleeping for more than a few hours each night. He has also been prescribed Cymbalta to help cope with his subsequent anxiety and depression.

After seeking legal advice, Chris made a truck driver claim for injury compensation against the owner of the John Deere tractor from which the hay bale had fallen – Alden Nunes Inc of Tulare, California – claiming that the tractor driver employed by the company, Enrique Avila, had been negligent in allowing the hay bale to fall onto the road.

Both the company and the driver denied their liability for Chris´s injuries and filed nine separate defenses with the Superior Court of California in Tulare. Being too ill to attend a court hearing, Chris requested the assistance of a mediator to help resolve the truck driver claim for injury compensation and, after a month of negotiations, a negotiated settlement of $1.9 million was agreed.


Man Receives Compensation for Back Injury in a Car Crash

An electrician, who suffered debilitating injuries when his pick-up was rear-ended, has been awarded $665,000 in compensation for a back injury in a car crash.

Peter Kilian (41) from Staten Island, New York, was sitting in his employer´s parked pick-up truck on Hylan Boulevard at Tompkins Avenue when, on February 17th 2011, he was rear-ended by a vehicle driven by Lillian Perez of Clifton New York.

Peter suffered neck and back injuries as a result of the accident, and damage to his shoulder which required surgery to correct. His accident came just months after he started working again following a back injury at work, and the additional damage he suffered to his back on this occasion has prevented him from working since.

Peter made a claim for compensation for a back injury in a car crash against the driver of the vehicle that rear-ended him, but Lillian Perez was only covered for personal injury up to $50,000, and her insurance company declined to pay more than the policy ceiling.

After seeking legal advice, Peter discovered that he was able to claim compensation from his employer -Daidone Electric of Jersey City – as a statute exists in New York that allows an injured party to claim compensation from the insurer of the vehicle in which the injury occurred when reasonable damages exceed the liable party’s insurance limits.

Fortunately Peter´s lawyer was able to negotiate a suitable settlement of compensation for a back injury in a car crash from the employer´s insurers amounting to $615,000, which together with the compensation payout from Lillian Perez´ insurers meant that Peter received a total of $665,000.


Woman Wins Claim for Injuries in a Garage Forecourt Accident

A woman, who suffered a serious neck injury after being rear-ended by a Texas Forest Service employee, has won her claim for injuries in a garage forecourt accident.

Brenda Nolen (51) from Texoma in Young County was sitting in her stationary Dodge pick-up alongside a garage forecourt when she was rear-ended by a Texas Forest Service employee who had fallen asleep at the wheel of his vehicle.

Brenda´s Dodge pick-up was forced across the forecourt and into a gas tank – which exploded on impact, trapping Brenda inside a burning vehicle. Fortunately Brenda was rescued from the wreckage of her burning truck by passers-by, but suffered a serious neck injury due to the collision.

Brenda underwent multiple surgeries for her neck injury and made a claim for injuries in a garage forecourt accident against the State of Texas – as the employer of the Texas Forest Service employee – to cover her medical expenses and the cost of a replacement vehicle.

The State of Texas denied their liability for her injuries, claiming immunity under the Homeland Security Act which states that employees of the Texas Forest Service are not liable for injuries or accidents that occur while they are en route to an emergency.

Through a lawyer, Brenda pursued her claim for injuries in a garage forecourt accident on the grounds that a sleeping Forest Service employee could not have been attending an emergency if he was asleep and, more than two years after the original accident, an undisclosed negotiated settlement was agreed between Brenda´s lawyers, the State of Texas and Brenda´s insurance company which will see Brenda receive enough for her to buy a new vehicle, but which fails to fully cover her medical expenses.


Man Awarded Compensation for a Cycling Injury after Court Hearing

A cyclist, who now requires full-time care after a collision with a car in 2005, has been awarded £5.3 million in compensation for a cycling injury after an eight-year legal battle.

Toby Phethean-Hubble (24) from Knowle in Shropshire was just sixteen years of age when, in November 2005, he attempted to cycle across the road outside the Whitchurch Leisure Centre, and was hit by a car driven by seventeen year-old Sam Coles.

Coles had passed his driving test just eight days before the accident, and was driving his mother´s automatic for the first time. Even though he later admitted to seeing Toby cycling on the pavement, Coles said that there was nothing he could have done to prevent the accident – in which Toby was thrown over the top of the car before hitting the ground on the other side of the car.

Toby suffered catastrophic brain injuries and was at one point not expected to live. However, a groundbreaking operation in which Toby had a titanium plate inserted to his skull and years of physiotherapy later, Toby is now able to walk with the assistance of a frame, but still needs full-time care at a specialist centre in North Devon.

Through his mother, Toby made a claim for compensation for a cycling injury against Coles´ insurance company; but they denied liability and alleged that Toby himself was to blame for the accident due to his own lack of care and because he was not wearing a cycle helmet or using the lights on his bicycle at 8.00pm in the evening.

However, Coles had admitted to the police after the accident that he had been driving faster than the 30mph speed limit, and Toby´s mother took Toby´s cycling injury compensation claim to court; where in March 2011 Judge Wilcox ruled in Toby´s favour but assigned him one-third liability for his actions in causing the accident.

Coles´ insurers appealed the judgement and, after a hearing at the Appeal Court in 2012, Toby´s liability was increased to one-half, and the cycling injury compensation claim was adjourned for the assessment of damages.

Last week, Mr Justice Stewart at the High Court in London, approved a £5.3 million settlement of compensation for a cycling injury that help pay for Toby´s care and accommodation at the North Devon centre and enable him to afford the medical aids which will allow him to live as independently as possible.


Changes to Personal Injury Claims Procedures will Speed up Compensation

Changes to personal injury claims procedures introduced on 1st August 2013 will speed up compensation settlements in claims with a value of up to £25,000.

The second of two changes to the Civil Procedure Rules took effect on 1st August 2013, and whereas the changes to the personal injury claims procedures in April of this year took away some of the benefits of making “Contingency Fee” compensation claims, the most recent changes should allow claimants to receive their compensation settlements within a shorter time frame.

The new procedures will see the length of time negligent parties and their insurance companies have to acknowledge “Letters of Claim” reduced to one day from twenty-one days, and the number of days available for them to conduct their own investigations into a claim reduced from ninety days to thirty days (forty days in the event of a compensation claim for an accident at work).

The aim of the new procedures is to reduce the costs of pursuing a claim for personal injury compensation when the value of the claim is less than £25,000 and when liability is not disputed. Any negligent party or insurance company who fails to adhere to these guidelines will not be able to take advantage of the Ministry of Justice Claims Portal and will face higher costs in defending the claim.

There are numerous exceptions to the new Civil Procedure Rules and there will be no change to the personal injury claims procedures in the following events:-

  • If an injury has been sustained due to the negligence of a private individual – for example if a homeowner has damaged the pavement outside their house over which you have tripped and fallen
  • If the injury which is being claimed for is an acquired disease either at work (for example COPD due to your working environment) or a place of public access (for example food poisoning in a restaurant)
  • If an injury has been sustained in an accident or scenario involving more than one party – for example a car accident in which more than one person was to blame
  • If an injury was sustained in an accident for which you were partly to blame or if your injury was exacerbated due to your own lack of care (also known as “Contributory Negligence”).
  • If a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition was due to medical negligence – either at a hospital or in private practice such as at the dentist
  • If you have developed mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos, or if you are claiming on behalf of an individual who has died due to mesothelioma cancer
  • If you have sustained an injury due to the negligence of a party who is uninsured, insolvent or untraceable – such as if you are injured in a hit and run accident.

The changes apply to injuries which have been sustained or diagnosed in England or Wales from 1st August onwards, and do not affect the length of time you have after an injury has been discovered in which to claim personal injury compensation – currently three years in the UK.

Should you require further information about how the changes to the personal injury claims procedures may affect you in your particular circumstances, you are advised to speak with a personal injury lawyer at the earliest opportunity.


£7 Million Settlement of Motorcycle Accident Injury Claim Approved in Court

The £7 million settlement of a motorcycle accident injury claim, made on behalf of a Brazilian woman who suffered brain damage after an accident in London, has been approved in the High Court.

The claim for motorcycle accident injury compensation was made on behalf of Barbara Oliva (26) from Sao Paulo in Brazil by her mother – Edna – after Barbara suffered devastating injuries in an accident on London´s Embankment in 2008.

Barbara had been a pillion passenger on her husband´s Honda motorcycle, when the two – who were on honeymoon at the time – were hit by a car driven by Yusef Mahmoud of Southwark, London. Barbara´s husband and Mahmoud suffered minor injuries in the accident, but Barbara landed awkwardly on her head and suffered brain damage, despite wearing a crash helmet.

After recovering sufficiently to return to Brazil, Barbara – who is unable to walk or talk coherently because of her injuries – made a motorcycle accident injury claim for compensation through her mother. Liability was admitted by Mahmoud´s insurers, as he had been charged with driving offences which led to the accident, and the insurance company started making interim payment of compensation for a motorcycle accident injury.

At the High Court in London, Mr Justice Lewis was told that a final settlement of Barbara´s motorcycle accident injury claim had been agreed amounting to £7 million and, after hearing the circumstances of Barbara´s accident and her terrible injuries, approved the settlement of the claim, saying that it was “just and reasonable“ in the circumstances.


Compensation for a Pedestrian Injury on Holiday Approved in Court

A man who was left in a coma after being hit by a car in Rome has had a settlement of compensation for a pedestrian injury on holiday approved in court.

James Kennedy (37) from Gosforth in Newcastle was holidaying in Rome with university friends when, on 14 January 2006, he was hit by a car driven by Father John Cole of Merthyr Tydfil while crossing the Corso Vittorio Emmanuele.

James was taken to the city´s Santo Spirito Hospital, where he lay in a coma for ten months suffering from catastrophic brain damage and fractures to his skull, shoulder, knee and spine. Although now ‘mentally acute’, James is confined to a wheelchair because of his physical injuries and suffers from a lack of concentration and poor memory.

Because of his psychological impairment, James made a compensation claim for a pedestrian injury on holiday through his mother – Elaine – against Father Cole´s car insurers. However, the insurance company contested the claim on the grounds that James had been wearing dark clothing when the accident occurred and had ‘kept no proper lookout’ before stepping out into the street.

A negotiated resolution was reached in October 2009, in which Father Cole´s insurance company accepted 80% liability for James´ injuries and the claim was adjourned for the assessment of damages. An interim payment of compensation for a pedestrian injury on holiday amounting to £885,000 was paid to James earlier this year to enable him to move out of residential care and into a more suitable home.

The full settlement of compensation for a pedestrian injury on holiday is expected to be in excess of £10 million – as James is to receive a further lump sum payment of £3 million on approval of the settlement and index-linked, tax-free payments of £210,000 every year to pay for the cost of the care and support he will need for the rest of his life.

Mr Justice Bean at the High Court in London approved the settlement and commented that James risked having a bigger percentage deducted from the award for his contributory negligence had the claim been resolved by a trial. The judge announced that the funds would be managed by the Court of Protection to ensure that every pound was used to maximum effect for James´ benefit.


Student Receives Pedestrian Compensation for Being Hit by a Car

A business administration student from Birmingham is to receive more than £1 million pedestrian compensation for being hit by a car following a negotiated settlement.

The undisclosed sum will be paid to Lee Edge (21) from the city´s suburb of King´s Heath after an agreement was reached on how much compensation he should be entitled to following an accident in January 2005; when he was run down by a car whose driver was later convicted of driving without due care and attention.

Lee made the claim for pedestrian compensation for being hit by a car through his mother Sandra while he was recovering from the accident – due to which he now suffers from poor memory, fatigue and difficulty in concentrating.

Despite his injuries, Lee managed to achieve sufficiently high grades to attend college and, following an assessment of his future health requirements, Lee will now be the recipient of a seven-figure settlement of pedestrian compensation for being hit by a car.


Appeal Court finds Local Government Jointly Negligent in Pothole Crash Injury Claim

The Appeal Court has found Devon Council jointly negligent in a pothole crash injury claim following a car accident on the C-25 which left one passenger brain damaged and a second tetraplegic.

The accident, which happened in November 2006, occurred when a Land Rover driver – identified as “TR” – overtook a slow moving car travelling on the rural road between Honiton and Smeatharpe. As he was doing so, “TR”´s offside wheels dropped into an 8cm pothole alongside the edge of the road. “TR” attempted to steer his vehicle out of the defect in the road but lost control of the Land Rover and swerved across the road and crashed into trees. A Later investigation found that the Land Rover had been travelling at 45mph – well within the speed limit for the road.

“TR”´s two passengers both sustained catastrophic injuries – one suffering permanent brain damage and multiple skeletal injuries, while the second passenger was rendered tetraplegic and suffered traumatic amputation of an arm. Each passenger received compensation for their pothole crash injuries from “TR”´s insurance company, but the “TR” subsequently made a pothole crash injury claim against Devon Council – claiming that he would not have had the accident were it not for the poor condition of the road.

At the High Court in April 2012, Mrs Justice Slade found that Devon Council was 100 percent liable for the accident on the grounds that the safety inspection regime on the stretch of road had been inadequate and its state of repair was “well below a standard a reasonable driver could expect”.

The judge heard evidence that the road was only inspected twice a year contrary to the Code of Practice for Highway Maintenance Management (2005) to adequately inspect and maintain the winding and hilly road. The judge was also told that no risk assessment had been carried out prior to the six-monthly inspection program being adopted despite the council being aware that the road was used by agricultural vehicles and heavy goods lorries.

However, at the Appeal Court in London, Lord Justice Hughes – sitting with Lord Justice Lloyd and Sir Stanley Burnton – found that, although he could find no flaw in Mrs Justice Slade´s interpretation of the law, “TR” bore half the blame for the tragedy and 50 percent liability in the pothole crash injury claim. Lord Hughes said that the pothole in the road was “there to be seen” and there had been plenty of room to manoeuvre. He ruled that “TR”´s inadvertent error in not seeing and avoiding the 8cm pothole contributed to the accident.

He concluded: “Although the error may have been one which many might make, it amounted to a significant failure to keep a proper lookout and to manage the car correctly; it had terrible consequences. In my view, the only proper finding was that there was contributory negligence to the extent of 50 percent”.

Footnote: The two passengers have already settled their claims for pothole crash injury compensation. The passenger with the brain injury received a lump sum of £1.2 million, while the second victim was awarded a lump sum of compensation for pothole crash injuries amounting to £3 million plus annual payments of £275,000. The High Court case in April 2012 and Appeal Court case above were heard to determine liability in the pothole crash injury claim.


Postman Awarded Compensation for Spine Injuries in a Cycling Accident

A postman is to receive £7,300 compensation for spine injuries in a cycling accident following the negotiated settlement of his injury claim against his employers.

David Thompson (62) made his claim following a cycling accident in December 2011, when he was knocked off of his bicycle by a Royal Mail van while returning home from a night shift at the Leeds Mail Centre.

David was taken to hospital by ambulance, where he was diagnosed with soft tissue injuries to the lumbar region of his spine as well as bruising to his leg, chest and ribs. He remained off from work for two months – during which time he had to sleep downstairs in a chair in his Leeds, West Yorkshire home, as it was the only place he could feel comfortable.

When David returned to work at the Leeds Mail Centre in January 2012, he was assigned light work duties to help him recover from his injuries. However, David had to incur additional travel costs to commute to and from work because he had list his confidence to ride his bicycle.

Following a conversation with his union representative, David made a claim for compensation for spine injuries in a cycling accident against his employer – the Royal Mail – and, in a negotiated settlement, resolved his claim for £7,300 cycling accident compensation.


School Crossing Guard Settles Hit and Run Compensation Claim

A school crossing guard, who was knocked over by a hit and run driver while helping children cross the road, has settled her hit and run compensation claim with the driver´s insurers.

Forty-nine year old Karen Littler from Wigan in Lancashire was hit by the Honda Insight driven by Ceris Lovett while she was helping children cross the road outside their school in Ashton-in-Makerfield in March 2012.

Rather than checking to see if Karen was alright, Lovett drove off and was pursued by a motorist who had witnessed the accident. The motorist was able to record Lovett´s number plate and informed Greater Manchester Police.

Karen was taken by ambulance to Wigan Infirmary, where she received professional medical attention for bruising down the left-hand side of her body. She returned to work as a lollipop lady soon after, but continued to experience confidence issues when walking into the road to stop oncoming traffic.

Lovett was arrested by Greater Manchester Police and convicted of driving without care and attention. However, despite their client´s conviction for the offence, Karen received no joy in pursuing a hit and run compensation claim directly from Lovett´s car insurance company.

Eventually Karen sought professional legal assistance and legal proceedings were issued – at which point Lovett´s car insurance company made an offer of settlement for Karen´s hit and run compensation claim for an undisclosed amount, which was accepted on advice from Karen´s lawyer.


Court Approves Compensation for being Paralysed in Accident

The High Court has approved a settlement of compensation for being paralysed in an accident for a 17 year old girl who lost the use of her legs after being involved in a car crash in which her mother died.

Agnes Collier from Naunton in Gloucestershire was just 13 years of age when the car driver by her mother was in a head-on collision with a lorry on the A436. Her mother had taken evasive action to avoid hitting a car emerging from a side road and was killed instantly in the accident.

Agnes lost the use of both her legs due to the severe spinal injuries she sustained in the accident and only has limited use of her arms. Her older brother, who was also a passenger in the car at the time of the accident, suffered a head injury from which he has now recovered.

The driver of the car Agnes´ mother was trying to avoid – Andrew Norton of Andoversford in Gloucestershire – was found responsible for causing the accident and received a suspended sentence for causing death by driving without due care and attention.

Following his conviction, Agnes´ made a claim for compensation for being paralysed in an accident against Norton´s insurance company through her father Dominic. With no need for negligence to be established, the only issue to be resolved was how much compensation for being paralysed in an accident Agnes should receive.

At the High Court in London, Mr Justice Macduff heard that a settlement had been agreed which sees Agnes receiving £7.25 million now as a lump sum and future annual payments of £270,000. Should Agnes reach her anticipated life expectancy, the total value of the claim for being paralysed in an accident would exceed £23 million – a new record for a compensation settlement in the UK.

After hearing the facts of the accident, and how Agnes had coped with her injuries and the death of her mother, Mr Justice Macduff approved the settlement, adding “It never ceases to amaze me how people can deal with this type of adversity. I can’t turn back the clock, but what I can do is to wish you all the very best for your future.”


Government Figures Reveal Fewer Claims for Whiplash Injury Compensation

Figures released by the Department for Works and Pensions Compensation Recovery Unit have revealed that claims for whiplash injury compensation have fallen year-on-year by more than 4 percent.

A total of 547,405 claims for whiplash injury compensation were recorded by the Compensation Recovery Unit in 2011/2012, whereas in the previous twelve months 571,111 whiplash injury compensation claims were registered.

The fall in the volume of claims for whiplash injury compensation was noted by president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) – Karl Tonks – when he was giving evidence to a Transport Select Committee ahead of the latest amendments to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill 2012.

Mr Tonks also produced the results of a survey prepared on behalf of APIL by market research company Canadean which showed that 40 percent of people eligible to make claims for whiplash injury compensation declined to do so. The survey also revealed that 1 percent of respondents to the survey had suffered a whiplash injury in the past twelve months, while 20 percent of those had experienced a whiplash injury in the past suffered symptoms of their whiplash injury for more than twelve months.

The Government is expected to announce plans for new specialist medical panels to support improvements in the diagnosis of whiplash and to increase from 1,000 pounds to 5,000 pounds the value up to which claims can be handled by the small claims court, but Mr Tonks warned the Transport Select Committee that the Government could be embarking on a potentially damaging reform agenda.

Acknowledging that a “universal commitment was required to reduce the number of fraudulent claims for whiplash injury compensation, Mr Tonks added “But it’s even more important to stand firm against any move to put barriers in the way of the majority of people who have genuine injuries and who need to make genuine claims.” Mr Tonks presented a ten point plan to the Transport Select Committee which he hoped could be discussed with the Government.

1. Information on fraud to be freely available to all parties to help identify fraudsters

2. Claimants to be subject to a legally binding statement of truth

3. Ban insurers from paying compensation without medical evidence

4. No offers of gifts or cash to potential clients to be made by any party

5. Enforcement of future ban preventing insurers from selling claimants´ details

6. Identities of potential expert witnesses to be shared by both sides

7. New guidance to help medics identify and understand whiplash injury

8. Photo ID to be provided when attending a medical

9. Claimant´s lawyer to organise access to relevant medical records

10. Spam texting to be banned


Chronic Lower Back Injury Compensation Awarded to Former Pageant Winner

A former beauty pageant winner has been awarded over 18,000 pounds in chronic lower back injury compensation following a hearing at Edinburgh´s Court of Sessions.

Fiona Dickie (24) from East Lothian, made the claim for chronic lower back injury compensation following a road traffic accident on Edinburgh’s South Clerk Street in April 2009. It was alleged in the action that Fiona had been driving home from work when a vehicle driven by her accident with Mohammadreza Khandani attempted to undertake her car – causing the two vehicles to crash and resulting in Fiona suffering an injury to her back.

The Court of Sessions heard that, following her accident with Mr Khandani, Fiona had telephoned NHS24 who had advised her to consult with her family GP – which Fiona did the following morning. Fiona was referred by her family GP for physiotherapy and was later diagnosed with a chronic lower back injury attributable to the accident.

At the hearing, Judge Gordon Reid QC was told that although Mr Khandani had admitted liability for causing the accident, his insurers were disputing the amount that Fiona was claiming in chronic lower back injury compensation. Whereas, the judge was told, Mr Khandari´s insurers were prepared to settle Fiona´s claim for an amount up to 3,000 pounds, Fiona´s lawyers had requested an amount closer to 20,000 pounds.

It was explained to the Court that in spite of her back injury, Fiona had won a Miss Edinburgh 2010 and – in her role as Miss Edinburgh – regularly attended charity functions at which she dressed formally; including wearing high heels. Wearing high heels, the Court heard, resulted in Fiona suffering chronic lower back pain the next day, but she continued to wear them to support the charities as best she could.

Fiona´s lawyers requested that the judge award a figure which took into account the consequences of Fiona´s injury in relation to the charity work she performed and, after stating that Fiona had “displayed a commendable attitude to [her] work” Judge Gordon Reid QC awarded her a total of 18,281 pounds in chronic lower back pain injury compensation.


Child to Receive Tricycle Injury Compensation

An eleven-year-old boy is to receive 100,000 Euros in tricycle injury compensation after his claim for damages was resolved shortly before a hearing was due to commence at Dublin´s High Court.

Bartosz Zakrzewski from Birr in County Offaly, Ireland, sustained traumatic injuries to his head and leg in an accident in July 2010 when, cycling along An Coran Street in Birr, his tricycle was in collision with a car driven by Caitriona Kelly – also a resident of Birr.

Due to the impact from the collision, Bartosz was thrown several metres along the road and suffered head injuries, lacerations across his body and a broken leg. Through his mother – Monika – Bartosz made a claim for tricycle injury compensation against Ms Kelly – claiming that she had been driving negligently and in breach of her duty of care.

Ms Kelly denied the claims and, due to potential value of tricycle injury compensation that Bartosz would be entitled to if his claim were successful, his tricycle injury compensation claim was scheduled to be heard before Ms Justice Mary Irvine at Dublin´s High Court.

However, shortly before the hearing was due to commence, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that the claim for tricycle injury compensation had been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties. As the compensation settlement was in favour of a minor, the settlement still had to be approved and, after hearing the circumstances of the accident and the details of the agreement, Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the compensation settlement of 100,000 Euros which was agreed without admission of liability by Ms Kelly.


Compensation for Brain Damage in Car Crash Finalised against Speeding Driver

A young girl, who sustained catastrophic injuries when her parent´s car was involved in a head-on collision with a speeding driver, has had her compensation for brain damage in car crash settlement approved in court.

Cerys Edwards (6) from Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands was just eleven months old when, in November 2006, a Range Rover driven at speed by teenager Antonio Singh Boparan was in collision with her parent´s car. Cerys suffered permanent brain damage in the accident and now needs a ventilator to help her breathe and full-time nursing care,

Cerys´ parents – Tracey and Gareth Edwards – made a claim for brain damage in car crash compensation on Cerys´ behalf against the negligent driver, but it was only in 2008 – when Boparan was jailed for reckless driving – that his insurance company admitted liability. Negotiations to provide Cerys with a suitable compensation for brain damage in car crash settlement.

Judge Martin McKenna at Birmingham High Court heard that interim payments of compensation had been made by Boparan´s insurance company while a settlement was being finalised, and now the two sides had reached an agreement whereby the Edwards family was to receive a lump sum payment of 5 million pounds, with annual payments of 450,000 pounds being paid throughout Cerys´ lifetime.

Approving the settlement of the injury compensation claim, Judge Martin McKenna said that it was one of saddest cases he had ever come across.


Settlement for Brain Injury from Motorbike Accident with Car agreed

A man, who suffered catastrophic brain injuries when his motorbike was in collision with a car, has had an undisclosed Settlement for Brain Injury from Motorbike Accident with Car approved in London’s Royal Court of Justice.

David Buchan (28) of Watford, Hertfordshire, picked up the injuries in February 2005 after his bike collided with a car driven by Mark Whiting of Hatfield, Hertfordshire, and following a long period of time in intensive care had titanium plates inserted into his head.

Since his accident, David has experienced depression, has impaired senses of smell and taste and has suffered a slight loss of sight. Although he has begun to walk once more, he can only complete short distances with the aid of a walking stick and it is unlikely that he will ever be able to work again.

Mr Justice Langstaff at the Royal Courts of Justice heard that settlement of David´s motorbike accident claim had taken so long due to a disagreement over liability and, although the undisclosed compensation award was believed to be substantial, represented just one-third liability on behalf of the defendant.

Upon approving the settlement, the judge paid tribute to David’s mother – Ann – and the amazing levels of care and support she had given her son during his recovery.


Settlement for Death from Derailed Train

The family of Zoila Tellez, who was killed in a tragic railway accident, have had a negotiated settlement for death from a derailed in excess of £22.5m in compensation for a victim killed by a derailed train approved by an Illinois County District Court judge.

Zoila (44) of Chicago, Illinois, was travelling in an automobile with her spouse Jose and pregnant daughter Adriana in June 2009, when the family pulled up to red lights at a level crossing just outside of the city. The train that was about to pass was a Canadian National Railways freight vehicle, which consisted of 114 freight wagons – 76 of which were tankers filled with liquid ethanol.

Due to heavy rain, a nearby retention pond had overspilled, washing away some of the ballast underneath the track and, as the Illinois Court heard, leaving the rails “hanging in the air”. The oncoming train, unaware of the danger ahead, derailed shortly before the level crossing at which the Tellez family had pulled up, causing several of the ethanol tankers to explode and setting the Tellez car alight.

Jose and Adriana Tellez were able to escape from the incident with severe burns – Adriana miscarrying her baby soon after – while Zoila Tellez was unable to get out of the vehicle and burned to death.

In two different legal cases following the tragedy, it was revealed that the County Sheriff’s Office had previously alerted the Canadian National Railways communication centre in Montreal about the potential hazard, but the employee who received the warning had not been trained about how to respond to the alert, and the message was never transmitted to the train driver.

Legal representatives for the family also found that a weather warning had been sent to the company’s Edmonton office two hours before the tragedy, but the employee there had not read the full message as so many alerts were being delivered that evening. Canadian National Railways conceded that had the messages been dealt with in a prompt and efficient regard, an engineer would have inspected the track before allowing the train to proceed and would have therefore prevented the accident.

Admitting that the death of Zoila Tellez and the injuries to her husband and daughter were due to neglect, insurers agreed an award which sees Jose Tellez receive £14.2, while Adriana had a separate settlement of £8.7m approved by the judge.


Bus Injury Settlement is £100k

A bus injury settlement has been made to woman who suffered a spinal injury after a bus in which she was a passenger drove over a speed ramp too quickly, has been awarded  £100,000 in personal injury damages.

Ms Ciara Whelan (23) from Dublin, was aboard a public bus being driven through the grounds of a hospital in April 2006, when it went over a speed ramp too quickly and caused Ciara to hit her head severely on the roof of the bus.

After collapsing into a nearby seat, Ciara was  not able to catch her breath or communicate. Another passenger saw what had happened and alerted the bus driver who stopped the bus. An ambulance was summoned, and Ciara was admitted into the hospital where they treated her for a crush fracture of the L3 lumbar vertebra.

The judge at the High Court heard that Ciara remained in hospital for eight days, after which she had to wear a neck brace for three months. She (Ciara) told the court that she still suffers frequent back pain but it is controlled by anti-inflammatory drugs and ongoing physiotherapy. The court also heard that Dublin Bus had admitted liability for her injuries and the case was before Mr Justice John Quirke for assessment of damages only.

Awarding Ciara  £100,000 in personal injury compensation, Judge Quirke said that it was found that Ciara had suffered a very serious injury which would cause her continuing pain and some restriction of movement in the future.


£17,000 compensation award to teenager following bus accident

14-year-old Megan Ledden of Glasnevin, Dublin, has been awarded damages of  €20,000 in the Circuit Civil Court in a case against a minibus owner following an accident where she a wing mirror struck her head.

The accident occurred on the Old Finglas Road at a pedestrian crossing in March 2007. Having been knocked unconscious, Leddan fell back and hit her head on the ground. She suffered a cut to the right side of her forehead and bruising on her right knee. A permanent faint scarring under the hairline on her forehead resulted, though fortunately it is not visible.

Mr Justice Matthew Deery approved the settlement and Leddan was also awarded legal costs.


Severe Car Accident Injury Claim leads to estimated £17m award

The High Court in London has awarded what is thought to be the largest payment in a severe car accident injury claim in the UK to Chrissie Johnson, now aged 20.  The award was for severe injuries, including brain damage, that occurred in a road traffic accident in November 2006, when she was a passenger collided with a lorry on the Epping Road, near Ongar, England.

The family has already received a payment £2.5 million, with another lump sum of £4 now to be paid.  However, the the most notable aspect of the award is taxfree payments of £300,000-a-year to cover the costs of providing care for as long as the victim lives.

The total worth of the compensation package has been estimated at  £17 million.