A Los Angeles County Man Recovers $8.9M in TBI Case After Securing a Directed Verdict Against the Drunk Driver Who Hit Him

A Los Angeles County Man Recovers $8.9M in TBI Case After Securing a Directed Verdict Against the Drunk Driver Who Hit Him

TV commercials generally depict insurance companies as helpful, well-intentioned actors. Sometimes, in the real world, that’s not true. Auto insurers may go to great lengths – and expend substantial resources – trying to avoid paying claims where their insured driver was liable. If you’ve been hurt in a vehicle accident, the insurance company on the other side will be well armed with considerable resources, including powerful attorneys. You need to ensure you level the playing field, which starts by retaining your own powerful Santa Barbara car accident lawyer.

An injury accident case from last summer is an example of what can happen to an injured person who needs to seek payment from an insurer, and why diligent counsel is necessary. D.P. allegedly was intoxicated when he hit V.M. and his wife head-on in Lancaster in January 2017. V.M. endured multiple fractures and a traumatic brain injury as a result of the crash.

drunk driving accident

An insurance company has to defend their insureds in many situations – including this one – but what ensued was, according to the trial court, more than just a vigorous defense. The insurance company argued that D.P. lost control of his car because he hit a puddle in the road. It also asserted that V.M. was partially liable for the crash because he had consumed exactly one beer earlier in the evening.

The insurance company also contended that V.M.’s injuries weren’t that serious and, with time, he could make a full recovery. In fact, when the insurer made a settlement offer, it was for only $25,000. (The insurer rejected the plaintiff’s settlement offer of $5.5 million.)

Injury Lawsuits and Directed Verdicts

When you encounter a defendant that is not merely contesting liability and/or damages vigorously, but also frivolously, the law provides you with some options. One is to make a motion for a “directed verdict.” The law directs trial judges to grant a directed verdict request if, after making all available inferences in favor of the defense, the defense’s case lacks even a minimum of adequately substantial proof to uphold the defense’s arguments and claims.

In V.M.’s case, his counsel made such a motion regarding V.M.’s comparative fault in the accident. These motions rarely succeed in injury cases as the vast majority of scenarios are deemed to be disputes that the jury should resolve. Skilled counsel, however, will recognize those rare scenarios when their client is entitled to a directed verdict.

The judge granted the motion in V.M.’s lawsuit. The defense’s case centered around V.M.’s alleged consumption of one beer and D.P. allegedly encountering a puddle in the road. The defense continued this approach even after defense witnesses testified that D.P. was profoundly intoxicated. The plaintiff’s evidence has established beyond question that he was driving lawfully and was not negligent, while D.P. was driving drunk and was fully at fault for the crash.

After the damages phase of the trial, the jury awarded the injured man nearly $9 million.

Because G.W. recovered substantially more ($8.9 million) than the amount of his settlement offer ($5.5 million,) that also meant that he was entitled to another court order – one that required the insurance company to pay a sizable portion of the attorneys’ fees he racked up litigating his case for more than five years.

Getting what you’re owed is sometimes more complicated and arduous than it should be. The key to success is to be prepared for any possible scenario. That starts with retaining the right legal counsel. The skilled Santa Barbara car accident attorneys at the law firm of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP are here to protect your rights and interests, and to provide you with the diligent advocacy your case deserves. Contact us at 805-617-1365 or through our website to get a free case consultation today.


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