A California Man Rejects a $435K Settlement Offer and Instead Wins a $1.9M Judgment in His Distracted Driver Case

According to NHTSA statistics, distracted driving remains a major problem on U.S. roads, resulting in 3,166 deaths in 2017 alone. Distracted driving may lead to driving behaviors that can be particularly injurious, such as slamming into a stopped vehicle at full speed, veering into an oncoming lane of travel or barreling through a clearly red traffic light.

When you’re seriously hurt as a result of a distracted driver, you need to know where to turn find out how to go about getting back on your feet and getting fully compensated for the losses you’ve suffered (and will suffer.) Start by reaching out to an experienced San Mateo car accident attorney.

Anyone can file a personal injury lawsuit and potentially work out a settlement. One of the keys to a genuine success in a personal injury accident is not just “getting paid,” but knowing what your case is really worth and being sure that the payment you get is a fair one. That’s especially true in California, where there is an “offer of settlement” statute (Section 998). Make the mistake of rejecting a fair 998 settlement offer and you may find yourself paying some of the fees and costs of the defense. Make the mistake of accepting a lowball 998 offer and you may find yourself receiving too little money for your needs.

Consider the case of G.O. (San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2016-00030962-CU-PA-CTL), a man who was hit by a driver traveling on an intersecting street. Allegedly, the other driver, J.L., was distracted and traveled into the intersection even though her traffic light was solid red. J.L. admitted that she was liable. The only question in G.O.’s case was the extent of damages to which he was entitled.

Two weeks before trial, J.O. offered $435,000 in a 998 settlement offer.

G.O. asserted that the accident caused him to undergo seven months of chiropractic treatment, followed by two spinal surgeries. He also asserted that he would need an additional spinal fusion surgery in the future. Additionally, he was allegedly less happy, less active and in constant pain.

So, would you know whether those injuries were worth $435,000? More? Less?

The injured driver chose wisely and benefited substantially as a result

G.O.’s legal team rejected the settlement offer. They took G.O.’s case to trial and, at the trial’s conclusion, the jury determined that G.O. had suffered, and would continue to suffer, significantly. The jury awarded $1.41 million in non-economic damages, which includes things like pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life. G.O.’s economic damages, which included things like lost wages and medical expenses, were set at $547,000. The total award was in excess of $1.9 million, well more than the $435,000 the defense had offered.

G.O. chose wisely in rejecting the settlement offer in his case. To make sure that you, too, are making wise choices when it comes to settling versus going to trial (in addition to countless other decisions related to your auto accident injury case,) retain the knowledgeable San Mateo car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. Our attorneys have many years of representing drivers and passengers, and can use that extensive experience to help you assess your case objectively and make the best choices for you. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.