Verdicts & Settlements
Our attorneys negotiated a $4.75 million settlement in a products liability case related to a fatal furniture tip-over accident. Standards recognized by the Consumer Product Safety Commission call for furniture manufacturers and retailers to provide tip over warnings and anchoring straps with furniture that might tip over if a child pulls or climbs on it. No warnings or anchoring straps were provided with the furniture involved in this case. A consumer product safety expert was used to explain that proper warnings and anchoring straps are necessary because most parents do not know that furniture tip-overs pose a deadly hazard to young children, and do not know why anchoring straps are needed for child safety.
Verdict by Board of Arbitration
Motor Vehicle Accident Results In Award
This claim involved a single motor vehicle accident. Our client was a passenger in a motor vehicle that lost control on a curve, causing the vehicle to come to rest over an embankment.
Our client was life-flighted to UPMC Presbyterian where the initial diagnosis was a right femur fracture and a Grade III B open tibial fracture, and underwent seven surgical procedures to repair the open tibial fracture. The client is now able to walk and has done well in rehabilitation.
Our client suffered a loss of future earning capacity and we were able to demonstrate this loss through expert witnesses that undertook to perform a vocational analysis of his future work limitations.
The case was litigated before a Board of Arbitration who found in our client’s favor in the amount of $4,000,000.00.
Verdict Against Snow Removal Company
A $3.1 million verdict was recently obtained in a case against a snow removal service that performed an inadequate job of removing ice and snow from a designated walkway at a local business. The fall occurred on the only pedestrian walkway leading from the customer parking lot to the main entrance. The business owner had specifically requested that the snowplow operator remove snow and salt the walkway when warranted by weather conditions. The snowplow operator had cleared heavy snow accumulation weeks prior to the accident, by piling snow on either side of the walkway. Evidence demonstrated that although no snow had fallen for a week prior to the fall, temperatures led to a thawing and freezing of the piled up snow, leaving a thick accumulation of ice on the walkway and only a two inch clearing for pedestrians. The snowplow operator had been to the location to salt just two hours prior to the fall, but neglected to remove the icy build up on the walkway. The client suffered serious and disabling injuries that interfere with his ability to walk and perform normal activities of daily living. The verdict is one of the highest awarded in Beaver County in an accident of this type.
Verdict by Judge
NEARLY $1.5 MILLION
VERDICT AGAINST INSURANCE COMPANY
Our client was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident. Unfortunately the insurance policy for the driver that caused the accident was not sufficient to fully compensate him for his injuries so a claim was made against the underinsured motorist coverage he had purchased through his own auto insurance policy. The client’s insurance carrier refused to pay the underinsured motorist claim and forced him to litigate despite clear, uncontested evidence of damages exceeding the coverage he was entitled to. Damages far in excess of the policy limits were awarded but the insurance carrier paid only its policy limits. After the award, we pursued a claim against the insurance company for its bad faith conduct in failing to pay the claim. A verdict was entered in favor of the client for nearly $1.5 million, representing attorney fees incurred in pursuing both actions, interest on the amount of the coverage, and punitive damages.
Our attorneys recently obtained settlement of $1.25 million for an injured construction worker who suffered severe orthopedic injuries to his feet and legs after falling 30 feet at a construction site. The client had a significant amount of medical expenses and was disabled from work for a long period of time. We were able to handle both the civil and workers compensation aspects of the case.
Verdict by Jury
Our attorneys obtained a $1.2 Million jury verdict in a claim made on behalf of a 23 year old woman who was injured in a head on collision. The client was a passenger at the time of the accident and the cause of the accident was not in question. The driver that caused the accident had minimal insurance which was not enough to compensate our client for the serious injuries she suffered. The jury was asked to decide a claim made under the client’s own auto insurance policy for underinsured motorist benefits her family had purchased to provide coverage if one of them were injured by someone that did not have sufficient coverage.
In the accident, the client suffered a permanent elbow injury to her dominant arm that required lengthy treatment and two (2) surgeries. At the time of the accident, she was working in a barber shop and attending business classes at night, with the goal of opening her own barber shop by age 30. The client’s treating physician testified that her injury resulted in permanent limitations that prevented her from ever cutting hair again. The doctor hired by the insurance company agreed that the client suffered an injury in the accident and that all of her treatment, including her surgeries, were necessary, but he did not agree to the extent of her future limitations. We presented the jury with expert testimony about the client’s significant loss of future earning capacity because she can no longer cut hair and own her own barber shop. The jury agreed that the injury had caused the client a significant loss of future earnings, entering a $1.2 Million verdict in her favor and against the insurance company.
Recovery Against PennDOT
Our attorneys obtained a verdict against PennDOT for its failure to install a traffic signal at an unsafe intersection of 2 state roads. The crash was severe and resulted in 4 fatalities and a severe injury. We retained a traffic engineer who proved that the intersection was dangerous because it met at a skewed angle, making it difficult for drivers to cross through. Our investigation found a significant accident history with many prior accidents and other fatalities. We also conducted a traffic study that confirmed the intersection was associated with speeding vehicles and that the traffic volume and prior accident history met PennDOT’s criteria for a traffic signal.
PennDOT’s defense focused on excessive speed and PennDOT policies. PennDOT called a State Trooper who reconstructed the accident and calculated the speed of one of the vehicles at 116 mph. The Trooper’s speed calculation was contested at trial and our expert noted that speed was one of the problems at this location and one of the reasons a light was needed to protect the public. PennDOT also relied on its longstanding policy to refuse to install a traffic signal until the municipality where an intersection is located agrees to pay for one, even if both roads are state highways. Here, the very small municipality where this intersection is located could not afford to pay for a signal so PennDOT never even studied the need for one, despite the accident history and fatalities that had occurred there.
PennDOT agreed to pay its statutory damage cap of $1 million to be divided among the victims in the event PennDOT was found to be liable.
Settlement In Automobile Case
Our client, age 21, was a restrained passenger in a car when the driver lost control of the vehicle around a bend causing it to roll and go over an embankment. The client sustained injuries to his right leg that were so severe amputation was considered. After numerous surgeries and therapy, the leg was saved but carried a heightened risk for bone infection and is unlikely to ever return to a full range of motion and strength. With significant research and use of experts, we were able to demonstrate the severity of the injury and the impact on the client’s social and economic life, including a significant past, present and future wage loss claim. A settlement of $950,000.00 was obtained just prior to trial.
Verdict By Judge
Nursing Home Negligence
Our client was a 77 year old resident in a nursing home when he developed severe pressure ulcers or bedsores. Due to a lack of proper medical care, the wounds worsened and eventually resulted in amputation of both legs and a colostomy. Review of the client’s medical records revealed that nursing home staff did not turn and reposition him as they should have and there was no medical assessment of his wounds for weeks, including a ten (10) day period when they worsened significantly. During cross examination at trial, the nursing home’s expert conceded that turning and repositioning should been performed every two (2) hours and that even a single lapse in protocol could lead to a pressure ulcer, particularly in a patient with other risk factors such as circulatory problems and immobility. A verdict in the amount of $850,000 was entered against the nursing home for its negligence.
Settlement For Fall On Ice
Our firm recently obtained an $800,000 settlement for a client injured in a fall at a business. We were able to demonstrate through a weather expert that the icy condition of an outdoor walkway where the fall occurred had existed for a substantial period of time. The client sustained a back injury in the fall and required surgery. Surgical complications resulted in serious impairments including an inability to walk without the use of a walker. It can be extremely difficult to obtain a monetary recovery for falls on ice and snow because a business owner may not be held responsible for conditions resulting from a recent snowfall or freeze. Our use of a weather expert was key to demonstrating that the business owner had adequate time to make its property safe for customers.
In Damages For Work Injury
$697,500 in damages were obtained for a severe leg injury suffered by a truck driver while at work. The client was delivering aluminum pipe weighing more than 3,000 pounds to a fencing company. Due to the size and weight of the load, boards were placed on the bed of the trailer beneath the load so that a forklift could be used for loading and unloading. The pipe was loaded by the distributor using a forklift and was supposed to be unloaded by the customer using a forklift. On the day of the accident, the customer’s forklift was not working due to cold weather, and the customer requested the truck driver to unload by hand. In an effort to comply with the customer’s request, the driver proceeded to push the pipe off of the truck, when one of the boards beneath struck him in the leg, causing a severe fracture that required surgery. The leg then developed life threatening complications known as compartment syndrome, requiring an additional emergency surgery. The injury left the driver with significant, permanent limitations that prevent him from returning to work. Our attorneys reached a settlement in the amount of $412,500 with the company that loaded the pipe, and proceeded to trial against the company that was supposed to unload the pipe. The trial lasted five (5) days and included the testimony of seven (7) experts. A verdict of $500,000 was reduced to $285,000, to reflect the jury’s finding that the driver was also negligent.
Settlement For Underinsured Motorists/Bad Faith Claim
Our client was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident that occurred while he was working. Unfortunately the insurance policy for the driver that caused the accident was not sufficient to fully compensate him for his injuries, so a claim was made for underinsured motorist benefits available through an auto insurance policy purchased by the client’s employer. The insurance company initially delayed payment, refusing to accept the severity of the injury and our client’s lost wages, so an additional claim for bad faith was also made. Through the use of medical, vocational, and economic experts, a fair settlement was reached, permitting our client to be fully compensated for his losses.
Settlement In Concussion Claim
Our office obtained a settlement totaling $635,000 for a client who suffered a concussion in a motor vehicle accident. The concussion caused a serious stuttering problem that negatively impacted the client’s employability as a computer analyst, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost future earnings potential. Because the individual that caused the accident did not have enough insurance coverage to fully compensate our client for his losses, an underinsured motorist claim was made against insurance coverage our client had purchased with his automobile insurance policy. Unfortunately his insurance company wrongfully denied his underinsured motorist claim, forcing a lawsuit. We were able to collect significantly more than his insurance coverage limits because we were able to prove that his insurance company acted in bad faith when it refused to pay what it owed under the policy.
Settlement In Trucking Accident
This accident occurred in North Fayette Township, Allegheny County. At that time, the Defendant’s commercial tractor trailer truck failed to yield the right of way to Plaintiff’s vehicle and made a left turn into her vehicle. Plaintiff was transported from the scene by ambulance and taken to Ohio Valley General Hospital complaining of neck and midline low back pain. An anterior cervical microdiscectomy and fusion was performed at Presbyterian University Hospital. A posterior microsurgical foraminotomy to decompress the nerve root at C5-C6 was undertaken. The lower back problem worsened and lower extremity radicular pain became severe. To treat this problem, a L5-S1 lumbar microdiscectomy was done. Plaintiff experiences both lumbar/cervical discomfort. This case also presented with a significant claim for future loss of earning capacity. Plaintiff was a trained paramedic and worked on various ambulance crews and worked at UPMC Passavant North as an emergency technician. Plaintiff took an administrative assistant position, through a temp agency. Due to her injuries, Plaintiff cannot return to a paramedic position.
Settlement In Disputed Liability Case
We obtained a $600,000 settlement for a client who was injured when his car hit the side of a large black tour bus that was crossing the highway in front of him. Our client sustained multiple injuries and had no memory of the accident. The bus driver testified that when he entered the roadway, he believed he had sufficient time to cross the road safely. The police report indicated our client was initially unconscious at the scene, but once revived told police that he may have fallen asleep. The client had suffered very serious injuries but the insurance carrier for the bus company blamed him for the accident and a trial was scheduled. Because our client was unable to testify as to how the accident happened or explain the statement he made to police, expert testimony was critical to proving liability. Our medical expert was prepared to testify that our client’s statement to police was not a reliable explanation of what had occurred in light of his injuries. Our engineering experts analyzed black box data which revealed that our client was not speeding, but did not brake to avoid the accident. They were prepared to explain that because of dark appearance of the bus and nighttime conditions, our client could not see the bus in the roadway ahead. Being prepared for trial and having the right experts in place was key to getting the case settled.
Our clients, a husband and wife, were out enjoying a day motorcycling when distracted and speeding youths crossed the centerline and struck them. Both the husband and the wife sustained severe orthopedic injuries, broken bones and loss of full bodily function causing them to no longer be employable in their chosen fields. We were able to locate several layers of liability and underinsured motorist insurance policies providing a recovery of $500,000.00.
Settlement With Bankrupt Trucking Company
Our client, age 27, was operating her car when a tractor trailer crossed the center line and crashed into her. Fortunately, she survived, but suffered a disc injury requiring surgery and a prolonged period of recovery. The trucking company subsequently filed bankruptcy and went out of business. The insurance company then tried to avoid paying the claim by improperly alleging that the truck driver was not acting as an employee of the trucking company at the time of the accident. With the use of private investigators the truck driver was located to provide testimony against his former employer and the insurance company. We were then able to file suit against the insurance company and obtained a $500,000.00 settlement for our client.
Settlement in Boating Accident
Our attorneys negotiated a $500,000 settlement in connection with a tragic boating accident that led to the drowning death of a 25 year old woman. The kayak our client was operating went over a low crest dam which could not be seen from the water’s surface. This type of dam causes an optical illusion similar to an infinity pool, so that it appears as though the river continues uninterrupted when in fact there is a significant drop in elevation due to the dam. The drop in elevation creates a waterfall with extremely turbulent water at the bottom that is extremely hazardous to boaters. The United States Army Core of Engineers owned and operated the dam and was also responsible for placement of warning signs necessary to alert boaters of the dam and the hazard it created. Signs in place at the time of this accident did not meet the United States’ own recommendations and were not sufficient because they were too small and far apart to be seen and did not include understandable language to adequately warn boaters. The United States defended the claim citing the government’s lack of financial resources given the number of dams it maintained across the country and a legal requirement that boaters obtain information about existing hazards before entering waterways. Our attorneys filed the claim in Federal Court and with the assistance of multiple experts were successful in negotiating a settlement despite the significant legal challenges presented in pursuing such a claim against the United States government.
Verdict by Judge
Verdict Awarded For Fall Down Injury
Our attorneys obtained a $475,000 verdict for a client that suffered a severe ankle fracture in a fall at a local country club. The client fell while walking down the main internal stairway leading from the upstairs primary entrance of the club, to a downstairs dining area. We retained an architectural expert who testified that the steps were not equipped with a proper handrail. The railing in place was a large board that could not be grasped to prevent a fall and the balusters supporting the rail were improperly located so that they prevented users from sliding their hand along the rail as would be necessary for guidance while using the stairs. The client lost her balance but could not stop her fall because she could not grasp the rail or slide along her hand along it for balance. She suffered a severe ankle injury that resulted in permanent limitations and a risk of amputation. An addition to the building included a secondary stairway that was equipped with a proper, graspable handrail, demonstrating that the property owner was aware of the unsafe condition of its older, main stairway, but failed to upgrade its railing with the new addition.
Motor Vehicle Accident Settlement
Our client, a 29 year old man, was a passenger in a car when another vehicle crossed over the center line causing a head on collision. Our client sustained injuries to his intestines that were so severe that emergency surgery was required to save his life and a colostomy was also performed. Our client had multiple surgeries on his intestines and had a colostomy bag attached to him for over a year. With significant research and use of experts, we were able to demonstrate the severity of the injury and the impact on the client’s social and economic life. A settlement was obtained which consisted of the insurance policy limits of the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident, the underinsured motorist insurance policy limits of the driver of the vehicle that our client was in and the underinsured motorist insurance policy limits of our client. A total settlement for all of the insurance available was obtained in the amount of $400,000.00.
Settlement For Underinsured Motorist Claim
Our client was injured in a motor vehicle accident that resulted in two (2) subsequent back surgeries. The client had back problems that pre-existed the automobile accident, including a surgery nine (9) months before the subject accident. Additionally, our client faced a significant medical lien that needed to be addressed. Unfortunately the insurance policy for the driver that caused the accident was not sufficient to fully compensate him for his injuries, so a claim was made for underinsured motorist benefits available through the client’s auto insurance policy. The insurance company initially (i) argued that the subsequent back surgeries were not related to the automobile accident; and (ii) disputed the amount of the medical lien. Through the use of medical, vocational, and economic experts, a fair settlement was reached and the medical lien was satisfied, permitting our client to be fully compensated for his losses.
Motor Vehicle Settlement
Our client was a passenger in a vehicle that was involved in a single car accident that had traveled off the roadway and over an embankment. No other vehicles were involved in the accident. Although none of our client’s injuries required surgery, they were nevertheless quite serious consisting of a fractured hip, broken wrist, fractured sternum and fractured hand. Our client was hospitalized for almost two weeks and then spent several weeks in a rehabilitation facility. Although there were no claimable medical bills or lost wages, we were able to reach a settlement with the Defendant’s insurance company in the amount of $300,000.00. This sum represented the applicable amount of insurance carried by the Defendant.
Our client was the wife of a man who had been drinking at a bar for over 8 hours. Video surveillance that was obtained from the Defendant bar showed that our client’s husband had become intoxicated but was continuously served additional drinks by the only bartender on duty. Pennsylvania Law prohibits liquor licensees from serving an alcoholic beverage to any person that is visibly intoxicated. Our client’s husband eventually left the bar, got into his vehicle and attempted to drive home. Shortly after leaving the bar his vehicle left the roadway and he was killed. An expert toxicologist indicated that the high level of alcohol made it impossible to safely operate a motor vehicle. After the filing of a lawsuit, the case settled for $300,000.00, which represented the full amount of the bar’s insurance coverage.
Settlement Of Male Pedestrian Struck By Car
Our client, a 56 year old man, was walking across the street at an intersection when a car traveling up a one way street turned left and hit him causing his left knee to hyperextend. Our client was taken from the scene by ambulance and ultimately had to undergo three arthroscopic surgeries to his knee over a 2 year period. Despite the success of the surgeries, he was left with continued complaints of pain and stiffness and has continued treating with knee injections. Prior to this accident, he led an active lifestyle. He had no difficulty walking for pleasure or occasional exercise. The claim was presented for past pain and suffering as well as the future given the pain in his knee. We pursued both a claim against the driver who struck our client and the underinsured motorist provisions of our client’s insurance company for total compensation of $285,000.00.
Settlement and Social Security Benefits for Steelworker
We represented a steelworker who suffered wrist and elbow injuries that completely disabled him from working. Settlement of $250,000 was obtained and the client was awarded Social security Disability benefits as well.
Settlement of Elderly Female Pedestrian Struck By Car
Our client, an 86 year old woman, was walking on a sidewalk when a catering van attempted to back out of a private drive and struck her causing a right elbow fracture. Our client was taken from the scene by ambulance and ultimately had to undergo surgery on her right elbow. Following surgery, the client remained in the hospital for one (1) week and was then transferred to an inpatient rehab facility for three (3) weeks. Ultimately, the surgery was a success but the client still suffered from pain and stiffness in the surgically repaired elbow. Additionally, as a result of the fall, she was at a higher risk of developing painful arthritis. Prior to this accident, she led an active, independent lifestyle. The claim was presented for past pain and suffering as well as the future given the pain, stiffness and future possibility of arthritis in the elbow.
Settlement for Fall in Shopping Plaza Parking Lot
Our firm obtained a $120,000.00 settlement for a female client injured in a fall in a parking lot located in a shopping plaza. The area where our client fell was undergoing construction to a pole due to a prior motor vehicle accident. The construction area was roped off with orange fencing, however the fencing was secured to the pavement by thin wires that were barely visible. While walking around the orange fencing, our client was caused to trip over the thin wire and fell to the pavement. Our client sustained a knee injury and required surgery. The Defendants were the owners of the shopping plaza as well as the contractor that was undertaking the work. While the orange fencing served its purpose, the addition of the thin wires extending outward from the fence resulted in a clear tripping hazard.
This case is confidential as to settlement amount.
Settlement in Fatal Furniture Tip-Over Case
Our attorneys negotiated a confidential settlement in a products liability case related to a fatal furniture tip-over accident. Standards recognized by the Consumer Product Safety Commission call for furniture manufacturers and retailers to provide tip over warnings and anchoring straps with furniture that might tip over if a child pulls or climbs on it. No warnings or anchoring straps were provided with the furniture involved in this case. A consumer product safety expert was used to explain that proper warnings and anchoring straps are necessary because most parents do not know that furniture tip-overs pose a deadly hazard to young children, and do not know why anchoring straps are needed for child safety.
Confidential Settlement Amounts
Settlements In USAIR Crashes
We represented victims of both the 1994 USAir Airline crash in Hopewell Township, Beaver County, and the 1996 Valuejet Airline crash in the Florida Everglades. Substantial settlements were obtained for the families of the victims in each of these tragedies.