$440,000 Settlement: Dog Attack
Santa Clara County
Plaintiff was viciously attacked by a dog owned by a married couple who owned a home in Gilroy. Plaintiff originally hired another attorney who was told by the dog owners that they had homeowner’s liability insurance with Farmers that would cover the claim. When Farmers told Plaintiff that they did not insurer the dog owners, that attorney dropped the case, and plaintiff could not find another attorney to take the case until Mr. Tomasik agreed to represent him.
Since the dog owners divorced and sold their home, Mr. Tomasik went through the lengthy and laborious process of obtaining a default judgement against the homeowner, and then spent nearly four years trying to find the homeowners. Mr. Tomasik (with the assistance of private investigators) was able to track down the homeowner, and the homeowner told Mr. Tomasik that he did have homeowners insurance with Farmers. When confronted with this allegation, Farmers finally admitted that the homeowners really did have homeowners liability coverage with their company. Plaintiff, who had lost his left thumb in the dog attack and had to quit his job as a chef because of that, was able to start his own business with the settlement proceeds.
$390,987.57: Binding Arbitration Award – Uninsured Motorist Claim
Santa Clara County
This Uninsured Motorist (UM) claim arose from a motor vehicle collision that occurred in Los Altos. Claimant, who at the time was a very athletic, healthy 49 year-old woman, was rear-ended by uninsured motorist, and her vehicle sustained $7,629.05 in property damage. Claimant went to the Emergency Room shortly after the collision, where she was given a cervical collar and prescription pain medications. Claimant’s symptoms did not improve as expected, and she was eventually diagnosed with thoracic facet syndrome, which caused her to experienced daily pain and physical limitations.
CSAA repeatedly told Claimant that it would make her a settlement offer, and just days before the two year statute of limitations for filing a claim was set to expire, CSAA informed claimant that it would not be offering her any benefits under her insurance coverage with CSAA. The parties stipulated that Claimant’s paid past recoverable medical bills were $30,889.40, and CSAA made a final settlement offer of $125,000, which Claimant turned down. After a long and contentious three day arbitration where CSAA brought in two highly-paid doctors to serve as their expert witnesses, Mr. Tomasik obtained a binding arbitration award of $390,987.57, which was more than three times CSAA’s final offer.
$355,110.97: Binding Arbitration Award – Uninsured Motorist Claim
Claimant was a 49 year-old woman who had been a curator at the Oakland Museum for 18 years. She was in the process of recovering from hip replacement surgery three months before when an SUV ran a stop sign and slammed into the driver’s side door of her vehicle. She went to the Emergency Room that evening, but no fractures were detected. After continuing to receive treatment for her pain and other symptoms, subsequent X-rays revealed a femur fracture which had to be surgically repaired. She was also diagnosed with a permanent twisting of the prosthesis in her left leg from her hip replacement before the collision.
Mr. Tomasik obtained a $100,000 settlement for Claimant with the adverse driver’s insurance company. Mr. Tomasik then proceeded with an Underinsured Motorist (UIM) claim to Claimant’s own insurance company under her $300,000 UIM policy. Mr. Tomasik demanded the remaining $200,000 policy limits, but USAA refused to offering anything for more than a year, and finally offered only $50,000 shortly before arbitration. USAA’s medical expert wrote a report initially stating he believed that Claimant “did sustain a rotation of the femoral component from the motor vehicle accident in question.” However, at the arbitration hearing, he completely changed his opinion and claimed the collision did not cause this obvious deformity. Despite this testimony, Claimant obtained a binding arbitration award of $355,110.97, which was seven times the amount of USAA’s offer. Claimant filed a bad faith case against USAA for their improper handling of her claim, and she settled that case for an additional $375,000. The defense attorney who decided to fight that UIM claim rather than pay Claimant the insurance benefits she deserved is no longer with their in-house law firm.
$300,000 Settlement: Unsafe Premises – untempered glass shower door
This personal injury case arose from an incident that occurred in the bathroom of Defendants’ rental apartment building in Oakland. Plaintiff, who was 15 years old at the time, resided in the subject one bedroom apartment with his mother, two sisters, and step-brother. Defendant Carmen S. managed the apartment building on behalf of other Defendants. Plaintiff was taking a shower in the sole bathroom located in the rental apartment and when he attempted to open the shower door after taking a shower, the metal frame of the shower door which was inadequately secured to the wall, collapsed causing the untempered glass shower door to shatter, nearly completely severing Plaintiff’s left wrist. Plaintiff’s nerves, arteries and tendons were severed, blood sprayed all over the walls and ceiling of the bathroom, and he feared that he was going to die. Plaintiff was taken by ambulance to Highland Hospital, where he underwent emergency reconstructive surgery. Fortunately, Plaintiff made an amazing recovering and was able to use his wrist and hand, but did have residual pain and disfigurement. Plaintiff’s past medical bills totaled $37,887.92. Defendants denied that they were at fault for the incident, but Mr. Tomasik ultimately settled this case for the Defendants’ $300,000 insurance policy limits.
$280,000 Settlement: Underinsured Motorist Claim
Santa Clara County
Claimant, a healthy 17 year old and an avid athlete who had practiced with his high school baseball team the day before the collision, was traveling Northbound on South Mary Avenue towards the intersection with Cambridge Avenue. Defendant was traveling Southbound on South Mary Avenue towards the intersection with Cambridge Avenue. Suddenly and without warning, Defendant violated Claimant’s right-of-way by making an abrupt left turn directly in front of him, causing the frontal collision. The force of the collision was so severe that both air bags deployed in Claimant’s vehicle, and it had to be towed from the collision scene and was declared a total loss.
Claimant was taken away from the scene of the collision by ambulance on a stretcher to the Emergency Room. Claimant suffered numerous serious injuries, including a concussion, an avulsion fracture to his right knee, neck injury (including disc protrusion at C3-4 with indentation of thecal sac), back injury, and a labral tear in his right (dominant) shoulder which required surgery under general anesthesia approximately three months following the collision. Claimant had expected to receive a college scholarship to play baseball, but did not receive any scholarships because his injuries prevented him from playing baseball in his senior year of high school, and Claimant argued that this was more likely than not because of the collision.
Claimant’s compensable medical bills totaled $54,745.99. Mr. Tomasik was able to settle the underlying third-party claim with the driver’s insurer for the $50,000 policy limits. Claimant had Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage with CSAA, and Mr. Tomasik then resolved Claimant’s UIM claim with CSAA for an additional $225,000 in UIM benefits and $5,000 in Med Pay benefits for a total recovery of $280,000.
Alfonso R. v. Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company
$262,400: Binding Arbitration Award – Uninsured Motorist Claim
Claimant’s vehicle spun out on a rain-slicked freeway in West Sacramento and was stuck in mud off the roadway. While waiting for a tow truck, another vehicle spun out and collided with claimant’s vehicle. Claimant sustained a fractured right calcaneus (heel), but did not require surgery. He incurred approximately $10,000 in medical bills, and was deemed to have a $37,000 wage loss. Mr. Tomasik obtained a settlement with the adverse driver for her $100,000 policy limits. Mr. Tomasik then represented claimants in an Underinsured Motorist arbitration against their own insurance company, obtaining a binding arbitration award of $262,400, minus offsets.
Jennifer C. v. Progressive
$250,000 Settlement: Underinsured Motorist Claim
San Mateo County
Claimant had walked to her parked vehicle and she was standing at the driver’s side door of her vehicle with her hand on the door handle when she noticed that a driver of a vehicle approaching had driven too closely to right side of her traffic lane. Claimant had no time to move, and the driver’s vehicle struck Claimant and Claimant’s vehicle. As a result of the impact, Claimant’s body was propelled forward and the right side of her forehead and scalp were violently degloved as she was knocked to the ground. The driver’s vehicle sustained moderate damage, and it was towed to Redwood City Police Department. The reporting officer found the driver completely liable for this collision, and he did not find Claimant to have any comparative fault for causing the collision.
Claimant was dazed and disoriented from striking her head, and she may have lost consciousness. Claimant suffered a large right temporal scalp flap avulsion laceration, facial hematoma with air extending to the superior extraconal space of the right orbit, as well as injuries to her right hand and fingers, right hip and pelvis, back and both elbows. Due to the trauma to Claimant’s head and face, she experienced cognitive deficits, including headaches and short-term memory loss, following the collision.
Mr. Tomasik was able to settle the underlying third-party claim with the driver’s insurer for the $30,000 policy limits. Claimant had Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist policy limits of $250,000 with Progressive, and Mr. Tomasik then resolved Claimant’s UIM claim with Progressive for the remaining policy limits of $220,000, for a total recovery of $250,000.
William M. v. Progressive
$250,000 Settlement: Underinsured Motorist Claim
Claimant and three friends hired a driver to transport them to Onion Valley Campground in Unincorporated Inyo County. After arriving at the campground, the driver, Claimant and his three friends exited the truck, and they began unloading their personal belongings from the truck. The driver had stopped the truck on an uphill slope and he had not turned off the engine, and after he excited the vehicle, he then reached inside the truck and turned the engine off. Suddenly and without warning, the truck began to roll downhill backwards, since the driver had also failed to apply his emergency brake. In an attempt to stop the truck from rolling backward downhill, the driver tried to enter the truck to apply the brakes, but he was unable to do so, and fell to the ground. As Claimant and his friends attempted to escape the path of the rolling truck, the driver’s side door of the truck (which the driver had left open) caused a massive open wound to Claimant’s right arm. Claimant was forced to perform emergency first aid on himself, and then had to wait an agonizing 35 minutes for the first emergency responders to arrive while he lost a substantial amount of blood, and he feared that he would bleed to death. Claimant’s wound initially required 350 stitches, and this surgical procedure took three and a half hours. Claimant subsequently required another surgery to remove a massive hematoma that had developed in his right arm from his massive wound. Claimant then developed a dangerous Staph infection for which he had to take powerful antibiotics. Shortly after the collision, Claimant began noticing significant numbness in the fourth and fifth fingers on both hands when sleeping that extends up his arms, and this awakens him nightly and greatly interfered with his sleep. An MRI revealed Claimant suffered significant objective cervical disc damage.
Mr. Tomasik was able to settle the underlying third-party claim with the driver’s insurer for the $100,000 policy limits. Claimant had Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist policy limits of $250,000 with Progressive, and Mr. Tomasik then resolved Claimant’s UIM claim with Progressive for the remaining policy limits of $150,000, for a total recovery of $250,000.
$235,000 Settlement: Motor Vehicle Collision
Plaintiff, a healthy 20 year old student, stopped for her stop sign at a 4-way stop intersection in Oakland, and then entered the intersection. Defendant (who was wearing an eye patch over his left eye) apparently did not see Plaintiff to his left, entered the intersection after Plaintiff and proceeded to broadside Plaintiff’s vehicle. Plaintiff’s compact sedan sustained $7,281.58 in property damage. Plaintiff was diagnosed Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, a commonly overlooked and very serious medical condition. Prior to the collision, Plaintiff was an active, recent college graduate with plans of becoming a police officer. Plaintiff’s past medical bills totaled $66,586.73, and case settled shortly before trial for $235,000.