April 22, 2018
In 2012, On Monday, April 17, a state court jury in California sided with the victim of an automobile accident that left him quadriplegic, awarding the plaintiff $41.6 million, largely for pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages. The suit stemmed from an accident that occurred when defendant Samantha Schilling ran a stop sign, striking the vehicle occupied by plaintiff Anthony Taylor.
Born with development disabilities, Taylor had shown much strength and perseverance in managing to gain employment and live independently prior to the accident, his attorneys said, adding that everything changed tragically for the worse when, in December 2015, Taylor—having just completed some last-minute Christmas shopping—was “T-boned” by the vehicle driven by Schilling.
Among the injuries suffered, Taylor was left quadriplegic (he since has regained use of his upper extremities) and disfigured. The jury’s verdict consists of $15.6 million in economic damages ($15 million of which is earmarked for future medical expenses) and $26 million in past and future noneconomic damages, including disfigurement and physical impairment, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering.
Among the challenges facing the plaintiff’s attorneys in this case was the difficulty of portraying to jurors the significance of noneconomic damages.
“The jury has to understand exactly what the plaintiff has gone through and is going to go through, and then they have to put a value on that, which is always the toughest part of a case like this,” Alexander R. Wheeler, an attorney for Taylor, told Law360. “But as you can tell from the noneconomic damages, we did a very good job of letting the jury understand the human losses.”
The case also required the plaintiff’s attorneys to demonstrate the extent of future medical costs facing the victim, who, being only 27 years old, potentially will require decades of dedicated medical care by trained professionals.
“We were able to successfully present the level of care he would require, trained medical care,” said plaintiff’s attorney Wheeler of the $15 million in future medical expenses.
The case highlights the importance of quality legal representation in getting victims the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one is ever injured in an automobile accident, call the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com right away for a free legal consultation. Keep our contact information in your phone, because you never know when you’ll need a good lawyer on your side. Get Help Now!
March 2, 2018
In 2012, Missouri resident Michael Bavlsik was returning from home to St. Louis following a trip to Minnesota, his GMC Savana filled with eight other passengers, including two of his sons. After his passenger van struck a boat being towed by another vehicle, the GMC Savana flipped, and, although he was wearing his seatbelt at the time, Bavlsik struck his head against the collapsed ceiling, suffering a cervical-spinal cord injury that left the father of eight quadriplegic.
Bavlsik and his wife, Kathleen Skelly, brought suit against General Motors (GM) in March 2013, alleging that the seat-belt system lacked three important safety components and that the lack of these components and the failure to conduct adequate testing rendered the design negligent. They further sued GM for a failure to warn. While a jury subsequently found that the GMC Savana van did not contain any design defects that were responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries, the jury did find negligence on GM’s part for failure to test and awarded Bavlsik $1 million in damages.
Agreeing with GM, the trial court tossed the jury verdict, finding it illogical for the jury to have found no design defect but a failure to adequately test for a defect that did not exist. The trial court then agreed to plaintiffs’ request for a new trial based solely on the damages issue, but GM appealed to the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals, which agreed with the plaintiffs and the lower court, remanding the case for a new trial solely on the issue of damages.
Now, GM has asked the United States Supreme Court to step in to resolve what GM describes as a great deal of disagreement among lower courts on how such matters are to be decided. The existing test applied by courts—often referred to as the “Gasoline Products exemption” after the precedent-setting decision that first applied it—has been applied differently by different courts across the country, GM contends.
If you or a loved one suffered injury as a result of a motor-vehicle accident, the expert attorneys at TheLawFirm.com are standing by now for a free consultation. The law places strict time limits on the ability to bring a claim, so sign up today for a free consultation! Get Help Now!
Sonoma County Attorney Jeremy Fietz has recovered over $10,000,000.00 for his motor vehicle accident clients