Attorney John P. Burns, of the Law Offices of John P. Burns, recently obtained a $125,000 settlement for a client who received back and neck injuries in a 3 car accident on January 23, 2012. The case was settled on March 7, 2014, a few weeks before trial.
Mr. Burns’ client, Ms. Krystal Doyle-Michel, was following another car on the highway in the rain one evening. The car ahead of Krystal went into a spin. When Krystal pulled to the right side of the road, to avoid the spinning car, Krystal’s car was rear-ended by a driver who was behind her on the highway. The impact knocked Krystal’s car forward into a hill, which was alongside the highway, causing major damage to the car and setting off the air bags.
The crash deformed Krystal’s car door so badly that she had to climb out the window of her car to get out. Krystal suffered cuts, bruises, knee, neck and back injuries in the crash. She was transported to a local hospital where she was examined and released after several hours.
The insurance company for the woman whose car had rear ended Krystal refused to accept any fault for the accident. That insurance company said that the woman whose car had spun out in front of Ms. Doyle-Michel was the person 100% at fault for the accident.
The insurance company for the woman whose car spun out in front of Krystal refused to accept any fault for the accident. That insurance company said that the driver of the car which had rear ended Ms. Krystal-Doyle was the person 100% at fault for the accident.
Mr. Burns had no choice but to file a lawsuit against the woman whose car had rear ended Krystal and the woman who spun out in front of Krystal. The insurance companies for both the driver who rear ended Krystal and the insurance company of the driver who spun out in front of Krystal hired separate insurance defense attorneys to defend the case.
Right after the accident, Krystal’s neck, back and knee pain symptoms had grown progressively worse. She was treated by a chiropractor in Hemet, California for several months, after which, the local chiropractor advised Mr. Burns that he felt Krystal also needed care by medical doctors with special skill in treating car accident victims.
Mr. Burns found a highly qualified neurosurgeon in Orange County who examined Krystal and then ordered pain management procedures for her neck and back pain. Under the care of the neurosurgeon and the pain management physician, Krystal’s neck and back pain were gradually brought under control.
A few weeks before trial, attorney John P. Burns sent a demand to the insurance company of the driver who had rear ended Krystal, demanding that insurance company pay Krystal their insured’s policy limits of $100,000.00. Mr. Burns also sent a demand to the insurance company of the driver who had spun out in front of Krystal, requesting that insurance company pay Krystal their insured’s policy limits of $25,000.00.
Mr. Burns made those two settlement offers under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 998. That California Code section states that financial penalties may be imposed by a judge against defendants who fail to agree to pay a reasonable offer when the plaintiff goes to trial and is awarded more than that amount by a jury.
Shortly after attorney Burns made the two offers, the insurance company for the woman who had rear ended Ms. Doyle-Michael offered Krystal that driver’s $100,000 auto insurance policy limits to settle. The insurance company for the woman who spun out in front offered Krystal that driver’s $25,000 policy limits to settle. These offers were accepted by Ms. Doyle-Michel at a Riverside County Superior Court Mandatory Settlement Conference on March 7, 2014 and the case was concluded.
Attorney Burns noted that this was a difficult case because the two insurance companies refused to take a fair share of the fault of their respective drivers. It was only when they realized they were going to face a jury that the insurance companies took responsibility for the harm their drivers had caused.
If you have been in a car accident and think you need help, please give us a call at 949-496-7000. The first call is always free and we will be sure to get back to you within 24 hours.