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.
Truck Driver Makes Right Turn and Runs Over Bicyclist: $4.325 Million Recovery
Our client, a 23-year-old recent UC Berkeley graduate, was riding her bicycle in downtown Oakland alongside a semi-truck, when the driver made a right turn, knocked her off her bike, and ran over her with his front wheels. Our client suffered a crushed pelvis, nerve damage to her left hand and foot, and orthopedic injuries to her knee and tailbone, along with severe emotional distress. We sued the truck driver for negligence and sued his employer for negligently hiring and training him. The defendants claimed their driver was not negligent because he had his turn signal on and checked his side view mirrors constantly as he made his turn. The driver claimed he never saw our client before the collision. The defendants also claimed our client was at fault for unlawfully riding her bicycle in the crosswalk. By hiring accident reconstruction experts and visibility experts to conduct studies of the accident scene using an exact duplicate of the semi-truck, we pointed out numerous inconsistencies in the driver’s story. We also showed he violated several “rules of the road,” including the failure to use his turn signal and yield the right of way to the cyclist. After two mediations, Mark Fong and Seth Rosenberg settled the case for $4,325,000 shortly before trial.
Bicyclist Killed by MUNI Bus : $3.25 Million Settlement
We represented the family of a 78-year-old man killed by a MUNI bus while he was riding his bicycle in the South of Market neighborhood of San Francisco. The bus passed our client’s husband and father, then crossed over into his lane, in order to pull into a bus stop. The bus either struck the cyclist or caused him to lose control of his bicycle, and fall under the rear tire of the bus, killing him instantly. The police report concluded the cyclist caused his own death by turning into the bus, citing the statement of an eyewitness. However, at deposition, this eyewitness stated the bus came into the man’s lane, in effect “cutting him off.” Mark Fong and Seema Bhatt proved the bus driver violated MUNI’s policy that required its drivers to maintain at least three feet of clearance from other vehicles, including cyclists. We also showed the bus was missing its “S-1 Gard,” a wheel guard designed to keep persons who fall under buses from being run over by the wheels. At mediation we obtained $3.25 million on behalf of the wife and adult children of the decedent.
Injured Motorcyclist: $3 Million Recovery
Our client was riding his motorcycle when the defendant pulled out of a driveway in front of him, causing him to “T-bone” the defendant’s car. Our client suffered a concussion and a broken femur, which required several surgeries to repair. The defendant disputed the extent of our client’s injuries. Through extensive neurological and neuropsychological testing, and neuroradiologic imaging (including functional magnetic resonance), we showed our client suffered a traumatic brain injury in the crash, as well as depression and anxiety. The case was settled at mediation for $3 million by Dale Minami, Mark Fong, and Seema Bhatt.
Motorcyclist vs. Delivery Truck: $2.8 Million Settlement
Our client “Paul” was riding his motorcycle through an intersection when a delivery truck ran a red light and hit him. Paul suffered injuries including fractures of his shoulder bone, ankle, pelvis, a vertebra in his mid-back, and ribs. The van was being driven by a man who claimed he was required to work grueling hours, and was given an unreasonable amount of deliveries to make, which caused his excessive speed and inattention. Although Paul made a significant recovery from his injuries, he was rendered disabled from work and restricted in his hobbies, which included practicing martial arts and ballet. We claimed Paul also was unable to attend the classes he needed to finish his master’s degree in the U.S. Without this degree, he was unable to maintain the sponsorship he needed to stay in the country, so was forced to return to Hong Kong, his place of origin. Dale Minami and Mark Fong settled Paul’s case for $2.8 million at mediation.
Motorcycle vs. Tractor-Trailer: $1 Million Settlement for Widow
We represented the wife of a 62-year-old retired mechanic who was riding his motorcycle in Stanislaus County when a tractor-trailer owned by a local farm turned left in front of him, causing him to apply his brakes to avoid a collision. The motorcyclist lost control of his motorcycle, was thrown off, and suffered fatal head injuries. The motorcyclist never struck the tractor-trailer, and the defense claimed the motorcyclist caused his own injuries by negligently losing control of his motorcycle. The motorcyclist was also not wearing a DOT-approved helmet as required by law, which the defense claimed would have saved his life had he worn it. When the defense refused to make a settlement offer, the client’s then-attorney referred the case to our firm. We hired engineering experts to reconstruct the accident and showed that, based on the speeds of the two vehicles, the motorcyclist would have impacted the tractor-trailer had he not laid down his bike. Therefore, we argued, the motorcyclist was not negligent, and liability rested solely on the driver of the tractor-trailer. We hired an expert in helmet biomechanics to show it was impossible to say whether a DOT-approved helmet would have saved the motorcyclist’s life. As the defendants had the burden of proof on this issue, they could not prevail on their claim. We assembled a settlement package which showed the depth of the relationship between the motorcyclist and his wife during their relatively brief marriage. Through the work of Seema Bhatt, Mark Fong, and the rest of the Personal Injury team, we were able to obtain the $1 million limits of the farm’s primary insurance policy for the widow of the motorcyclist.
Bicycle vs. Auto: The Search for Excess Insurance Coverage – $1 Million Settlement
Our 34-year-old client Johnny was riding his mountain bike in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco when he struck an oncoming car which turned left in front of him. Johnny suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as fractures to the vertebrae in his mid-back. He was unable to work as a delivery person for his family’s business for a number of months, but fortunately went on to make a good recovery. His medical bills exceeded the $100,000 policy limits of the insurance company for the driver. Johnny and his wife lived several days a week at his wife’s parents’ home, as well as at their own separate residence. We successfully argued that, due to his dual residence, he was covered for the crash under his in-laws’ personal auto insurance policy. This allowed us to recover $400,000 from this insurance company, in addition to the $100,000 limits of the driver’s insurance. Then, since Johnny was an employee of his father-in-law’s business, we made a claim on the business’ commercial auto insurance policy. By providing physical evidence and statements under oath to prove Johnny’s dual residence, we obtained another $500,000 in insurance money for him from that insurance company. In total, we obtained $1,000,000 for Johnny from all of these sources. Mark Fong and Dale Minami handled Johnny’s case.
Motorcycle vs. Auto: $740,000 Award
Our client, a 40-year-old line cook at a hospital, was driving his motorcycle in Oakland when he collided with a car that pulled out in front of him. After operations to repair his knee and shoulder, he was no longer able to work as a cook, so went back to college to retrain himself in a new occupation. In binding judicial arbitration, we presented the theme to the arbitrator that our client’s inability to work as a cook—after years of working in the restaurant industry—represented not only the loss of a job and profession, but the loss of his dream of becoming a cook/chef. The case was tried by Mark Fong and Eunice Yang, and the arbitrator awarded total damages to our client and his wife in the amount of $740,432.75.
Bicycle Fork Snaps During Ride: $450,000 Settlement
We represented a 60-year-old cyclist who was riding his bicycle through a parking lot in Palm Desert, California, when the bicycle’s carbon fiber front fork suddenly snapped, causing him to pitch forward headfirst and strike his face on the pavement. Our client suffered fractures of his eye socket, a brain bleed, and mild traumatic brain injury, from which he went on to make a good recovery. We filed suit for product liability against the bicycle manufacturer and the store which sold him the bike, alleging the fork was defectively designed and manufactured. We argued the fork was designed with insufficient layers of carbon fiber, which made the spot where the fork snapped dangerously weak. We also argued the fork was defectively manufactured, in that it had voids and delamination (separation) of the layers of carbon fiber which were intended to give the fork its strength. We showed the Defendants knew of the dangers of delamination, as they warned of this risk in the bicycle’s owner’s manual, and instructed owners to inspect their bicycles for signs of delamination. Mark Fong, Seema Bhatt, and Dale Minami prosecuted this case, which settled for $450,000.