Fred F. (fictitious name), a 51-year-old home care provider, was driving in the course and scope of his employment as a caregiver in San Francisco. Fred was struck by a Hummer rented from the Hertz Corporation and driven by a foreign tourist making an illegal turn on a red light. He was taken by ambulance to the emergency room of the local hospital, where Fred’s treating physicians inadvertently injured his spinal cord rendering him a partial quadriplegic.
Senior Counsel Mark Fong, Partner Dale Minami and Associate Eunice Yang handled the auto accident claim, which settled for Hertz’s policy limits of $1 million, and later settled the claim against the physicians and the hospital for $2.1 million.
Fred faced a number of challenges in settling the medical malpractice case. First, non-economic damages were capped at $250,000 due to the California Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975. His past and future wage loss claim was $252,157.
The defendants argued that Fred’s claim for future medical expenses was unrecoverable as a matter of law, as the compensation carrier had agreed to provide him with lifetime medical care. Through experts in healthcare financial administration, life care planning and workers compensation utilization review, our team argued that workers compensation is unlikely to pay for much of the treatment he will need over the next 30 years, leaving him exposed at the time when he will most need care.
The team settled the medical malpractice case for $2.1 million, recovering all of Fred’s wages and the terms of the settlement provides Fred with the lifetime care that he needs.