One of the more rewarding motorcycle accident cases our office has handled over the years involved a case that Lisa handled. It took a great deal of work and effort but in the end, she was able to help, as best possible, a veteran of our Special Forces. Here are the case facts…
Our client had served in the Special Forces for 30 years. After arriving home in Los Angeles, he was riding his daughter’s motorcycle. While doing so and through no fault of his own, he sustained serious injuries and damages after being struck by a car being driven by an inexperienced 16-year-old driver (defendant). At the time of the collision, the defendant had a three week provisional license and two 15-year-olds illegally as passengers and distracting her attention from the road.
Our client approached and entered an intersection at the posted speed limit and on a green light. At the same time, the defendant unexpectedly and abruptly turned left on a red arrow, directly in to the path of our client’s motorcycle, causing this horrific collision. The defendant admitted fault at the scene of the collision to the investigating officer, indicating that she only realized she’d run a red light after initiating her turn.
As a result of the impact, our client slammed in to the side of the defendant’s vehicle and then flipped over the top of the car. He then struck his head on the car and on the pavement, causing a head injury despite wearing a helmet. Our client suffered a loss of consciousness and ongoing memory issues. He was taken to Harbor UCLA Medical Center where he underwent numerous surgeries and treatment for his injuries. In addition to his head injuries, our client also suffered the following injuries:
- Left hand was nearly severed with bones shattered, requiring multiple surgeries, including wrist reconstruction and permanent loss of strength and mobility;
- Broken eye socket;
- Broken nose;
- Broken neck;
- Broken teeth (including gum damage) and loss of teeth, now requiring braces;
- Multiple facial lacerations- his upper lip was nearly ripped completely off and required reconstructive surgery, leaving him scarred;
- Left shoulder dislocation;
- Broken collar bone which is permanently displaced causing severe pain and limited mobility;
- Broken ribs;
- Shattered pelvis together with pelvic muscles torn and shredded requiring surgical reconstruction including a metal plate and resulting in impotency;
- Compound fracture of his left leg requiring surgery including steel rod placement from his ankle to his knee;
- Broken ankle; and multiple lacerations and contusions all over his body.
The insurance carrier for the other side tried to argue that their insured driver was not at fault. The insurance company’s initial settlement discussions were so low, they were insulting.
In response, Lisa filed a Superior Court lawsuit to protect her client’s interest. During the litigation process, depositions were taken. At the deposition of the investigating police officer, he confirmed that at the scene of the collision, the defendant driver admitted fault. During her deposition, Lisa was also able to get the defendant to admit that she saw our client on his motorcycle approaching the intersection but thought she could “beat him” and turned left in front of him.
During the discovery phase of the case, Lisa also confirmed that an independent witness stopped at the intersection at the time of the collision and unequivocally confirmed that the defendant pulled directly in front of our client.
Defendant’s Parents Also Responsible:
In addition to the liability of the defendant for running a red light and causing this accident, her parents were also alleged to be liable for negligent supervision. Both parents knew, or should have known, that their daughter was illegally driving with other minors in the vehicle. In fact, this was not the first time she had done this. Regardless of this known fact, they provided the minor defendant with her own set of keys and left the vehicle and the keys available to her without restriction or supervision.
In addition to their automobile insurance liability coverage, the parents also carried an supplementary liability umbrella policy in the amount of $1,000,000.00.
At the end of the day and shortly before trial, Lisa was able to settle her client’s motorcycle collision case for the defendant driver’s $250,000 automobile liability together with payment of her parents’ $1,000,000 liability umbrella policy.
We continue to stay in contact with this wonderful family and will always be there for them should they have any legal questions or needs.
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