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A California Jury Awards $21M to a Farm Worker Permanently Paralyzed in Two-Vehicle Crash

Sometimes, after reading a news headline about an accident injury victim who recovers a damages award in the tens of millions of dollars, you may wonder if awards like that are really legitimate or just an instance of an out-of-control jury. The reality is that, very often, these massive awards are entirely justifiable and appropriate! There are many ways that a vehicle accident can inflict a huge amount of damage on those hurt. One scenario where that is definitely a realistic possibility occurs when the injury victim is a young income earner whose injuries have left him permanently and totally disabled and requiring a lifetime of 24/7/365 care. If that happens to you or your loved one, it is essential to your family’s short-term and long-term well-being and financial security that your civil lawsuit gets you the full recovery you deserve. To aid in that goal, be sure you have an experienced San Mateo car accident attorney on your side.

J.M. was one of those people who suffered a catastrophic injury through no fault of his own. J.M., a farm worker in the Fresno area, was headed home from work one day when the van in which he was riding stopped at a railroad crossing. The driver of a Dodge pickup truck, C.B., slammed into the back of the stopped van going roughly 55 mph, according to a Fresno Bee report.

The massive injuries he suffered left J.M. paralyzed, according to the report. The only offer of settlement the injured man received was a sum of $25,000, which represented the policy limit of C.B.’s auto insurance coverage.


What to do when an insurance settlement isn’t nearly enough

J.M. asserted that he had suffered a C5 burst fracture, which meant permanent paralysis and a lifetime of being confined to a wheelchair. The paralysis would mean that he could use his hands, wrists and arms, but that usage would be substantially reduced. These harms clearly could not be compensated fully by a $25,000 check, so the injured worker wisely sued.

There are many different ways that an injury victim can go about proving the extent of the damages he suffered in his accident. Some injured plaintiffs may present extensive document evidence and/or expert witness testimony about the amount of medical care the plaintiff has received and will require in the future, along with proof regarding the amount of income the plaintiff has lost and will lose in the future due to the crash. Those are called economic damages.

That is not the only way to go about seeking damages, though. In J.M.’s case, the injured man’s legal team focused on non-economic damages, which are things like pain and suffering and the loss of enjoyment of life. J.M.’s legal team argued that he had suffered non-economic damages of $1,000 per day from the date of the crash and would continue to suffer $1,000 per day of non-economic damages for the rest of his life. (As a young man, J.M.’s remaining life expectancy was more than 54 years.)

That argument persuaded the jury, which awarded the injured man $1,000 per day for a period of 21,513 days (or almost 59 years.) The Fresno Bee reported that the $21.5 million sum was the largest for an auto accident in that county.

Whether the injuries you suffered in your auto accident have caused you to suffer harm in the thousands of dollars or the millions of dollars, getting a large enough damages award or settlement may be not just helpful, but also essential to your long-term personal, familial and financial well-being. To make sure your case yields the fullest possible recovery, count on the experienced San Mateo car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, where we’ve spent decades helping injured people and their families get justice through the civil legal system. To set up a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.

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