In any civil lawsuit, steps like marshaling all of the evidence that supports your case is an obviously important part of the process. There are other procedural details, however, that can be easier to overlook or, alternatively, easier to get wrong if you aren’t keenly familiar with the rules. In one recent case involving a fatal vehicle crash, the plaintiffs retained counsel, and they did comply with the rules, which is why their $2 million judgment survived a defendant’s challenge to the manner in which they provided service of process.
Sometimes, obtaining a truly successful outcome in your auto accident case involves not just proving your case and establishing your damages but also making sure that the judgment asserts liability against the right defendants. This is especially true if your damages award is large. Obtain a multi-million dollar judgment against an employee making $15 an hour, and you may recover only a small fraction of your total damages. Obtain that same judgment against the employee and his corporate employer, and you may have a much greater chance of obtaining the full amount of the damages awarded to you.
That is why, in many auto accident situations, it is beneficial, as a plaintiff, to pursue both a driver and the driver’s employer when possible. In many situations, the fact that the accident took place while the employee was commuting to work would close the door on obtaining a judgment against the employer. The “going and coming” rule of liability says that, if an employee causes an accident while going to or coming from work, the employer generally isn’t liable under a respondeat superior theory of liability. In one recent case originating in Orange County, a motorcyclist was allowed to pursue a driver’s employer, even though the accident occurred as the driver was traveling to work.
A Northern California mother, injured in a fiery crash when a street sweeper made a U-turn and hit her SUV, fought for nearly two years to obtain compensation for the harm she suffered. In the end, despite the defense’s attempts to paint the mother as partly at fault and its extremely low settlement offers, the jury found for the plaintiff and returned a damages award of $8.3 million for her past and future harm, according to the Napa Valley Register and juryverdictalert.com.
When you’re injured in an auto accident, you may be keenly familiar with the facts of your case. Winning your case, however, involves much more than just a strong presentation of facts. One recent Orange County case was a prime example of this. A motorcyclist won his case due in part to his legal team’s ability to keep out of evidence a potentially damaging statement that was not admissible.
If you are injured in an auto accident, you’ll likely have to jump through several hurdles as part of your pursuit of recovery. One of the keys to maximizing the chances of success is avoiding hurdles that are not mandatory but that can trip up your case. In one recent case involving an injured delivery driver, the Sixth Appellate District Court decided that the driver didn’t have to submit to an exam by the defense’s vocational rehabilitation expert because that type of exam wasn’t expressly listed in the California statutes.
In many walks of business (and life), you will hear people talk about “the fine print.” In legal matters, it helps to have a team on your side well-versed in identifying the little things that can make big differences in your injury case. For example, California law has a statutory section that requires plaintiffs, in some situations, to pay some of a defendant’s costs if the plaintiff received and refused a qualifying settlement offer. In the case of one injured pedestrian, she escaped paying any of the defendant’s costs because the defendant’s settlement offer did not meet the strict requirements of Section 998 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
A recent jury verdict from Northern California provided a measure of justice for a man severely injured while he was working at a California Department of Transportation road work site when a driver struck him. The jury award exceeded $56.5 million, according to a Sacramento Bee report. The outcome of the case provides a clear illustration of the benefit of pursuing all of those potentially responsible for your damages. In this case, while the driver was negligent, it was CalTrans, rather than the driver, who was 100% to blame for the man’s injuries.
Whenever someone injures you while that person is working, your legal options potentially expand, but so do the potential complexities of your case. In a matter of a motorcyclist hit by a taxi driver in West Hollywood recently decided by the courts, the motorcyclist was able to obtain a award of damages not only from the taxi driver but also from the taxi company that contracted with the driver. The Second Appellate District Court concluded that the taxi company’s control over the driver was substantial enough to make the driver an agent of the company and the company liable for the harm the driver caused to the motorcyclist.
When your case goes to trial, you have several hurdles to clear. Sometimes, obtaining a jury verdict in your favor isn’t the last one. In the case of one trucker, he had to fight off a defense claim that juror misconduct should invalidate the outcome and trigger a new trial. The Second District Court of Appeal sided with the injured driver, concluding that, even if the juror engaged in misconduct, the defendant lacked the necessary proof of prejudice that the law required to overturn the verdict and the damages award.
A former lineman for the UCLA Bruins football team received a type of victory recently when a Southern California jury ruled in his favor in the injury lawsuit he brought against the California Department of Transportation and the taxi driver who hit him. The jury concluded that CalTrans bore the brunt of liability for, as the injured man argued, allowing a dangerous intersection to remain in place without any changes to improve safety. Sometimes, a successful personal injury case can be about more than just recovering damages for the harm you incurred. As the plaintiff told KCAL9 about his litigation, “It stands as a big symbolic victory, but mostly, I’m just excited to know that my losses weren’t made in vain.”