Representative Cases: Please note that every legal matter is different. The outcome of each legal case depends upon many factors, including the facts of the case, and no attorney can guarantee a positive result in any particular case. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
$3.85 Million Settlement for Injured Cyclist
Partner B. Mark Fong and Senior Associate Seema Bhatt recovered a $3.85 million settlement for a 52-year-old cyclist who was struck by a car while riding to his job as an aircraft cleaner at SF International Airport. The initial facts of the case were unfavorable. Based on witness statements the police concluded our client ran the red light, causing him to be struck by the defendant, a Canadian citizen driving a rental car. Our client also tested positive for methamphetamine at the hospital. Through tenacious investigation, we were able to obtain security video from the airport which showed our client entered the intersection on a green light, and the driver struck him before he had a chance to clear it. Based on this, the police prepared an amended report which found the driver at fault for the crash. We also argued the drug in our client’s system did not cause the driver to run the red light. Our client suffered significant orthopedic injuries and bleeding on his brain in the crash. His case was further complicated when he suffered a stroke 2 years after the crash, which could have been caused by his methamphetamine use. At mediation, Mark and Seema obtained a settlement of $3.85 million for the client, which will allow him to fulfill his dream of reuniting his family in the United States.
Rental Car Driver’s Negligence Followed by Medical Malpractice – $3.1 Million Recovery
We represented a 51-year-old home care provider who was driving in San Francisco in the course of his employment as a caregiver. He was struck by a Hummer rented from Hertz Corporation by a foreign tourist who made an illegal turn on a red light. Our client was taken by ambulance to San Francisco General Hospital, but the surgeons there inadvertently injured his spinal cord and rendered him a partial quadriplegic. Mark Fong, Dale Minami, and Eunice Yang handled the auto accident claim against Hertz, which settled for its policy limits of $1 million. We then settled the claim against the physicians and hospital for $2.1 million. Our client faced a number of challenges in settling his medical malpractice case. First, his noneconomic damages for pain and suffering were capped at $250,000 due to California’s medical malpractice laws, known as MICRA. The medical defendants also argued that our client’s claim for compensation for his future medical treatment was unrecoverable, as his workers compensation carrier would provide him with lifetime medical care. However, our team argued, through the use of experts in the fields of healthcare financial administration, life care planning, and workers compensation, that workers compensation is unlikely to pay for much of the treatment our client will need over the next 30 years, which will leave him without insurance coverage when he will need it most. Our team settled the medical malpractice case for $2.1 million, for a total recovery of $3.1 million, which will provide our client with the care he needs over his lifetime.
Underinsured Motor Vehicle Accident: $2.65 Million Recovery
Our client was severely injured in an automobile crash in which a delivery messenger ran a red light and crushed her car. The driver only had a $15,000 insurance policy and his employer had no insurance. Both of the defendants disappeared, and the driver’s insurance company later declared insolvency. Outraged by the defendants’ and insurance company’s irresponsibility, Dale Minami filed a lawsuit and obtained a default judgment for over $2.4 million, which was uncollectible at the time since there appeared to be no insurance and no assets of the defendants. We then filed judgment in the state of Florida, where the insolvent insurance company purportedly conducted business. Later, we were contacted by the Department of Insurance and Dale Minami was able to negotiate a $2.65 million recovery for the client, proving that persistence pays off.
Man Suffers New Brain Injury In Rear-End Collision: $1.5 Million Settlement
We represented a 50-year-old IT worker whose car was rear-ended by a Dr. Pepper salesman who was on his way home after making his last delivery for the day. After answering paramedics’ questions at the scene, our client suddenly fell unconscious and required mechanical assistance to breathe. He recovered after a brief hospitalization, but was left with cognitive deficits, including memory problems, loss of focus and attention, and disordered thinking. He had suffered a brain injury seven years before the crash, and imaging studies were unable to identify any new brain injury from this crash. We argued, based on his symptoms of short-term memory loss, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep disturbance, anxiety, depression, and inability to work, that he had indeed suffered a traumatic brain injury from the crash. Our first hurdle was to prove Dr. Pepper’s auto insurance policy should cover its salesman for the crash. We did so by taking the driver’s deposition. Although the crash occurred while he was off the clock, we proved that our client’s situation fell within an exception to the general rule that an employer is not liable for accidents during its employees’ commute to and from work. We did this by showing he had to travel for work and was reimbursed for mileage during his commute, Thus, Dr. Pepper’s insurance company was forced to compensate our client for his injuries. Our second hurdle was to overcome the argument that our client’s cognitive deficits were due to his prior brain injury, which admittedly had left him with residual cognitive problems. To combat this, we deposed our client’s former employers, friends, and family to show he was functioning well after his prior brain injury but had deteriorated significantly after the subject crash. We also hired experts in the fields of neurology, psychiatry, neuropsychology, and vocational rehabilitation, who stated our client would be unable to continue working as a result of his cognitive limitations. Thus, although he returned to work after the crash, we argued Dr. Pepper should pay for his potential future loss of earnings. Shortly after mediation, Mark Fong and Seema Bhatt settled the case for $1.5 million for the client and his wife, who sued for loss of his consortium.
Employer Negligently Hires Drunk Driver: $1.1 Million Recovery
Our client was injured in a head-on collision with a drunk driver that caused fractures in both of his legs, wrist, and ankle, and left him disabled. In the course of discovery, Seth Rosenberg discovered the defendant was driving his car for work while inebriated, and his employer, a major alcoholic beverage distributor, knew of his past history of DUI convictions but had taken no precautions to prevent him from drinking while intoxicated. The employer also knew other employees of theirs drank on the job but took no action to stop this. We settled the case with the driver’s insurance company for $100,000, and with the defendant’s employer for $1 million by exposing the outrageous behavior the employer allowed to take place.
Drunken Wild Boar Hunt Goes Awry: $1 Million Recovery
Our 43-year-old client, a customer of a wild boar hunting company, was injured during a post-hunt barbecue when one of the company owners invited him for a ride on his all-terrain vehicle (ATV). During the course of the ride, the owner drove the ATV off a cliff, causing our client to suffer a fractured jaw and forehead, as well as neck lacerations. He was also diagnosed with a concussion and post-concussive syndrome. At his deposition, we forced the driver to admit he was not paying attention, was likely intoxicated, and was responsible for the crash. Unfortunately, this was the third severe concussion our client had suffered in his lifetime. We argued this one was the “straw that broke the camel’s back,” and disabled him from returning to his job as a software engineer for a bank. The defense argued our client’s cognitive symptoms should have resolved a year after the incident, and he was no longer suffering the effects of a traumatic brain injury. They claimed any decline in his cognitive status was because our client was an alcoholic. We subpoenaed Plaintiff’s past neuropsychological and school records to show he was actually of superior intelligence before the crash, and the crash caused a decline to only average intelligence. Seema Bhatt and Mark Fong settled the case at mediation for the defendant’s insurance policy limits of $1 million dollars.
Massage Therapist Suffering Hand Injury from Car Crash: $850,000 Recovery
Our client, a massage therapist, was injured when a vehicle made a left turn in front of them and struck their car head-on. During the collision, our client gripped the steering wheel tightly, and suffered a fracture of the 5th metacarpal bone in their right hand – also known as a “boxer’s fracture.” Our client’s injuries directly impacted their livelihood as a massage therapist. Our vocational rehabilitation expert determined our client would likely suffer a permanent two-thirds reduction in income due to their decreased ability to perform massages. Through our investigation, we determined the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident was employed by a large medical device manufacturer. We argued the driver and his employer were negligent, and the collision was the legal cause of the carpal tunnel syndrome in both of our client’s arms. Through pre-litigation negotiation, Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Associate Seema Bhatt and Associate Ember Oparowski settled our client’s claim against the medical device manufacturer for a total of $850,000.
Rear-End Collision Involving Multiple Vehicles: $650,000 Recovery
Our client, an 85-year-old man whose hobbies included attending dancing events twice a week, was stopped in traffic on the freeway when the defendant’s SUV slammed into his car from behind at high speed. The impact pushed our client’s car into the four cars ahead of him. He suffered an unstable transverse fracture of his T8 vertebra, partially collapsed lungs, and rib fractures. He required fusion of his T6 – T11 vertebrae. We recovered $650,000 in settlement for him, and our client was able to return to his twice-weekly dancing.
Fractured Wrist: $505,000 Underinsured Motorist Recovery
We represented a 60-year-old dentist who was traveling through an intersection when the defendant, who was traveling in the opposite direction, made a sudden left turn in front of him and struck our client head-on. Our client suffered a compound fracture in his left wrist, carpel tunnel syndrome in his left arm, and neck and back pain. Due to ongoing pain in his wrist he is only able to work part-time as a dentist now. Dale Minami recovered the $25,000 limits of the defendant’s auto insurance policy, as well as an additional $480,000 from the underinsured motorist coverage of our client’s insurance company.
Woman Suffers Chronic Migraine Headaches From Whiplash: $425,000 Settlement
Our client Stephanie was a 17-year-old high school student whose car was rear-ended as she sat stopped in traffic. As a result of the collision, she suffered a whiplash injury to her neck, which aggravated her preexisting migraine headache condition. She began to suffer debilitating headaches, nausea, and vertigo, which interfered with her daily activities and eventually caused her to drop out of school. The at-fault driver carried only $25,000 in auto insurance. After obtaining the driver’s insurance policy limits, we prosecuted an underinsured motorist claim against Stephanie’s own auto insurance. The defense claimed it was extremely unusual to develop debilitating migraines due to whiplash, and there were many potential causes besides the car crash which could have worsened this condition. We settled Stephanie’s underinsured claim at mediation for $400,000, for a total recovery of $425,000 to her. Seema Bhatt and Mark Fong represented Stephanie.