Recent Trial Results
San Fernando Personal Injury Lawyer
Insurance companies often count on the assumption that personal injury attorneys cannot afford to take smaller cases to trial. It is common knowledge that trial comes with added court costs and can be very long. Furthermore, it is more difficult to convince a jury to award the plaintiff compensation for damages when injuries seem minor such as soft tissue damage, muscle sprains and minor bruising. These are all facts that work in the favor of insurance companies who can push for a smaller settlement because they know that the attorneys of the injured party will do what it takes to stay out of court. This is true for most personal injury attorneys, but at The Law Office of Gerald L. Marcus, we have proved to our clients that we will do whatever it takes to get them the compensation they deserve.
Recently, firm attorney Bradley Wallace, Esq. handled two such relatively small cases. He broke the stereotype of personal injury attorneys by pushing for favorable outcome to the point of trial and aggressively litigated both of them until he achieved success on behalf of his clients.
Both cases involved minor property damage and soft tissue injuries, damages that another attorney would not see fit for trial. However, rather than recommending to our clients that they settled outside of court, Bradley took both cases all the way to trial and obtained favorable outcomes for both. One of the cases was awarded a verdict nine times greater than the insurance company's initial offer. Bradley and the other attorneys at The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus believe that everyone, whether severely injured or less severely injured people, deserve to be represented with equal aggression and dedication. Furthermore, because some damages seem to the eye as minor and not deserving attention, less severely injured persons need a stronger voice on the legal platform than severely injured people do.
Car Accident - Minor Impact Rear End Collision - $95,000.00 Settlement
Before hiring The Law Office of Gerald L. Marcus to argue her case, our client had been represented by two different attorneys who had failed in convincing the insurance company that the woman deserved more than just $200.00 for the neck injury she sustained from her car accident. The insurance company claimed that the force of the impact was not strong enough to cause any real damage or injury.
While this was enough to silence the previous attorneys, we took on the case with intense action. Our work in depositions and discovery was enough to achieve a substantial settlement from the insurance company before the case even reached the courtroom.
Slip and Fall - $265,000.00
Our firm filed a premises liability claim on behalf of our client who had injured himself falling in a catering truck yard. The defense counsel attempted to place comparative fault for the accident, which resulted in a broken hip requiring surgery, on our client. However, the slip and fall was caused by grease on the ground. Discovery revealed that the business owners and property owners were award of the grease and that the condition was recurring.
Furthermore, the evidence showed that there was no way that our client could have avoided the accident unless those responsible had been diligent to maintain a safe environment on their land. The insurance company agreed to attend private mediation where we were able to reach a settlement of $265,000.
Premises Liability and Medical Malpractice - $575,000.00
In a difficult case involved two very different legal theories, we were able to negotiate a settlement of $575,000 on behalf of a client who had been a victim of both general negligence and medical malpractice. The premises liability and medical malpractice claim was filed after our client's foot got stuck underneath a fallen sign at a retail store. The sign caused our client to sustain a foot injury requiring multiple surgical procedures. Two years later, the client had fully developed complex regional pain syndrome (CRRS). CRRS requires an electric pain stimulator to be implanted into her lower back in order to help deal with the pain.
The property owner disputed full liability for the foot injury, claiming that the CSSR was a result of the operating doctor's negligence. After several years of lengthy litigation and investigations, we were able to bring this complex case to a conclusion. Our client was awarded compensation from both culprits that was sufficient to cover the damages she sustained from the injury and the malpractice.
Premises Liability - $125,000 Settlement
This case serves of an example of why injured persons should not attempt to negotiate with insurance companies without an attorney. Our client, an 85 year old woman, broke her wrist after falling at a cemetery due to a dangerous condition on the premises. The insurance company contacted us through an informal, seemingly amicable letter in response to our demand for a settlement. In the letter, the insurance company of the property owner denied liability and negligence. It was their contention that our client was responsible for her own injuries and they refused to pay anything for the damages.
After receiving this letter, we filed a lawsuit and included a Motion For Priority on the trial calendar because of the nature of the situation. We were able to convince the judge and insurance company that our client was not responsible for her injuries and that the defendant had not only failed to maintain a safe premise, but also neglected to adequately warn visitors of the cemetery of the dangerous conditions. The insurance company agreed to the settlement of $125,000 in private mediation soon after.
Wrongful Death: Automobile vs. Pedestrian Accident – Confidential Settlement
In the 2004, an outdoor shopping center was planned, designed and constructed on Highway 111 between Bob Hope Drive and Rancho Las Palmas. Private developers named the huge strip mall "The River at Rancho Mirage." The development was a quick success and brought both residents and tourists into the area to enjoy the many things "The River" had to offer.
Not long after, city officials and local city council noticed that parking was a significant problem when it came to the shopping mall. The design of the development lacked in sufficient parking space for the enormous flood of people that the mall attracted. As a result, shoppers were forced to seek street parking, often times on the opposite side of the street.
Local government proposed solutions and offered land to the developers in order to construct more parking spaces on the same side of the road but the offers were all turned down. A project was started to build an additional parking structure but even that was ended before any major headway was made. As a result, the shopping mall remained a popular stop for residents but offered no solution to the significant parking problem.
Two years after construction began, an 80 year old gentlemen dropped his wife off in front of a restaurant at The River and drove off to find parking. Unable to find any space at the actual mall or even on that side of the road, he finally ended up parking on the opposite side of the road near a T-Intersection. He walked up to the crossing street at the top of the T and crossed over to the side of the road where the mall was. However, when he reached the other side, he found himself unable to reach the pedestrian side walk due to hedges grown as a barrier between the side walk and the road.
The man, a health and vivacious long time resident of the community, was forced to tiptoe alone the edge of the side walk to reach the opening in the hedges. Traffic on Highway 111 is known to be intense and fast moving. As much as he tried, he was unable to avoid the danger of parallel traffic. As he made his way along the edge of the sidewalk, he tripped and fell into the street where he was hit by an unsuspecting car, resulting in his immediate death.
The family of the elderly man filed a wrongful death claim against the city and the shopping center. Their ultimately goal was for those responsible for the death of their beloved father and husband to make the changes required for a safer shopping mall and community. The owners of the shopping center had been offered multiple chances to create more parking spaces for their customers but had refused them all, forcing people, including the deceased, to search for parking elsewhere. Additionally, the T-Intersection had no signs, traffic controls or even a crosswalk for people to cross the street safely or be told when not to cross. The family hoped that their lawsuit would finally provide the motivation for the city and the developers to take responsibility and provide a safer community for residents and tourists.
When the firm was approached with this case, our personal injury attorneys immediately began working on a solid case to achieve retribution for the family of this victim. We were able to retain the assistance of the leading authority in traffic engineering, who helped us conduct studies and reconstructions of the accident. Preparation for trial included intense depositions and a powerful discovery. Three years to the day of the tragedy, we reached a settlement at a court ordered private mediation for a confidential amount.
This case was not about the money for the family or for The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus. We are happy that we were able to provide the city with an incentive to make changes to the T-Intersection so that it was safer for pedestrians to cross. The family of the deceased also demonstrated that their only aim in this suit was to have the right thing done and that they did not care about the money. They used the money from the settlement to create a private trust fund in the name of their loved one to benefit the local community and children in need. This was one case that will remain on our hearts as a reminder of what is truly important to us – and that is to do the right thing and to encourage others to as well.
Wrongful Death: Auto Accident - $5,000,000.00
The daughter of our clients had been driving home from a friend's when she found herself caught in the middle of a high speed police chase. As she was driving home, a police officer not far off noticed a couple of cars which seemed to be involved in an illegal street race. The chase began and as the young girl, just 20 years of age, entered an intersection on a green light, the suspected driver in the chase ran a red light and crashed into her. The girl sustained fatal injuries from the impact, which was estimated to occur at 70 to 80 miles per hour.
We represented the family of the victim in a case filed against both the city police department and the driver involved in the car accident. After a lengthy trial process including investigation and discovery, we were able to reach a stipulated judgment of $5,000,000.00, which also included a recorded apology from the driver of the car that killed the young girl.
Automobile vs. Pedestrian Accident - $200,000 Settlement
Our client was a property management superintendent at a local strip mall. He came to us after being injured at his work by a driver who had failed to see him working in the parking lot. He had attempted to make a claim for his medical bills but the insurance company had refused to pay, at which point he hired our firm to represent his case against the insurance company.
The man had been accessing an underground utility box in the mall's parking lot when a driver failed to see him kneeling over 60 feet ahead of her car. She neither slowed her vehicle nor did she swerve in order to avoid hitting him. Independent witness testimonies point to the fact that she made no indications that she saw our client, who was in plain view if she had only been paying closer attention to the road in front of her. At that point, she hit him attempting to turn into a parking spot and dragged him along beneath the car.
Our client suffered multiple injuries involving severe contusions, road rash and a knee injury which required surgery. Despite a settlement demand letter including comprehensive proof from the scene of the accident, the insurance company still denied liability and refused to pay. At that point, our attorneys filed a lawsuit with the Superior Court and proceeded with aggressive litigation. After hearing independent and expert witness testimonies, the insurance company agreed to negotiate a settlement in private mediation.
Premises Liability - $300,000.00 Settlement
In this case, an 84 year old woman who had fallen due to a dangerous condition at the local super market was seeking to file a premises liability claim against the property owner for her injuries. She had been leaving the market with her shopping cart when the wheel of the cart got stuck in a hazardously large hole outside of the market. While attempting to prevent the cart full of her recently bought groceries from falling over, the elderly woman fell and fractured her hip.
The woman had filed a claim with the market's insurance company but they initially denied her claim, refusing to take any responsibility for the incident or the condition that led to the accident. After we joined the case, we had our investigators examine the initial claim, the scene of the accident and collect independent accounts of the incident from witnesses at the scene. We took our case to the Superior Court and litigated the case with the information we had gathered pointing towards the fault of the premises owner. We successfully convinced the defense to attending mediation where we were able to reach a settlement that covered the damages of our client.
Swimming Pool Drowning - $1,000,000.00
In 2003, our young client and his father ventured to a privately-owned community pool in north Los Angeles Court. After paying the fee, the 14 year old boy joined about 50 other kids in swimming under lifeguard supervision. Seeing that his son was being watched by the lifeguard, the father decided to go and buy lunch from the snack shop at the pool. When he returned, he found his son being dragged out of the pool by a kind stranger. The lifeguard was not at the scene and the father learned that his son had been under the water for four minutes before he was rescued by the Good Samaritan.
Although the boy survived, he will be forced to live with minor brain damage for the rest of his life. The damages were disputed by the operators of the pool, who blamed the father for young boy's injuries. However, our legal team was able to achieve success in litigation. We negotiated a policy limit settlement for the young boy, amounting to $1,000,000.00. The settlement will be dispersed over the young boy's lifetime in order to meet his special needs due to the permanent brain damage. The total settlement is projected to be more than $5,000,000 over the span of the boy's lifetime.
Premises Liability/Products Liability - $900,000.00 Settlement
The parents of a three year old boy came to us after their young son had suffered traumatic brain injury from a fallen mirror in a department store they had been visiting. The young boy was looking into a mirror at the store when it tipped over and crashed on top of him. His skull was immediately crushed and though he survived, he will be living with brain damage for the remainder of his life.
Liability in this particular case was complex, resembling a classic game of the blame game. The parents initially blamed the store owner for the fallen mirror but the store owner turned and blamed the manufacturer of the mirror. The manufacturing company then responded by placing blame back on the store owner and on the parents themselves. In the end, the combined claim of both premises liability and products liability was concluded, awarding the parents $900,000 to cope with their son's special needs over the span of his life. The total projected settlement will be more than $5,000,000.
Premises Liability - $285,000.00
The client was a successful sales representative in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry. The 30 year old man decided to take a year off of his work to spend time investing in his passion for playing the guitar. He recorded his own album and was soon after touring the country, playing in small clubs in different cities. One night, at a well-known venue in Santa Monica, CA, the young man was injured when the stage he was playing on collapsed. As a result of the accident, he fractured his wrist and the injury required surgery, which ended his lifelong dream of being a musician.
The venue's insurance refused to claim any liability for the incident. They insisted that our client should not jump up and down when playing his set, something most musicians in his genre do in live shows. After a grueling litigation process, we were able to reach the settlement for $285,000 in private mediation.