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.
Malpractice Results in Loss of Client’s Eyesight: $2.75 Million Settlement
Our client was a 54-year-old hotel engineer who went to his primary physician complaining of a severe headache. He was referred to the Emergency Department, where the doctor took a history that suggested his headache was not so severe and ordered a computerized tomography scan (CT scan) of his brain, which showed no bleeding. Our client returned to his doctors several times over the next month complaining of recurring headaches but, because his previous CT scan was normal, his doctors simply reassured him and sent him home. Finally, he suffered a ruptured aneurysm (blood vessel) in his brain, which caused him to lose his sight. We prosecuted this medical malpractice case through binding arbitration. Under California law, victims of medical malpractice can recover a maximum of only $250,000 for their pain and suffering, which was the main element of damage suffered by our client. Medical bills and wage loss are also offset by the amount of insurance covering the victim for those losses. To combat this, we prepared a life care plan which outlined the cost of attendant care and assistive devices he reasonably needed to make his life more comfortable. We also showed he was not likely to return to paid employment. Mark Fong settled this case for $2.75 million.
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, Partner 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.
Motor Vehicle Collision – $1.5 Million Recovery Against Japanese National
Our clients were the parents of two young adults who were killed in a collision when the car in which they were riding made a left turn and was struck by an SUV traveling in the opposite direction. The SUV’s driver, who was from Japan, claimed she was traveling 35 miles per hour, but our download of the car’s “black box” showed she was traveling 65 miles per hour, which was 20 miles per hour over the speed limit. The driver of the victims’ car was an unlicensed driver whose father lived in Japan. We alleged the father was negligent in entrusting a car to his inexperienced daughter who had once failed her driver’s license test. This case presented jurisdictional as well as logistical challenges, as the father lived in Japan. Nevertheless, after conducting a check of the defendants’ assets, we were able to recover the $500,000 policy limits from all available insurance, plus an additional $1,000,000 personal contribution from the unlicensed driver and her father, based on the theory of negligent entrustment. Dale Minami represented the parents.
Runaway All-Terrain Vehicle Injures Husband and Wife: $1,350,000 Settlement
Our clients “John,” a 68-year-old retired UC Berkeley manager, and his wife “Jane,” a 66-year-old retired school teacher, were guests at a celebration hosted at the Defendants’ Napa Valley vineyard. At the end of the party, one of the Defendants offered to drive them in her all-terrain vehicle (ATV) to their car, which was parked at the bottom of the hill. Our clients sat on a bench seat in the ATV which had no seatbelts. The Defendant drove down a road and hit a bump, causing the Defendant driver to be ejected from the ATV, leaving our clients alone aboard the out-of-control ATV as it careened down the hill. Their terrifying descent ended when the ATV struck a car at the bottom of the hill. The impact caused Jane to suffer a mild traumatic brain injury, a broken femur which required two surgeries, a broken nose, and a broken heel. John suffered a broken humerus in his shoulder which required surgery, a lacerated lip, and post-concussion syndrome. After rehabilitation, John and Jane went on to make satisfactory recoveries from their injuries. We argued that the incident has had a lasting impact on their retirement and recreational activities, which they greatly looked forward to enjoying in their “golden years.” Mark Fong (lead counsel) and Dale Minami settled John and Jane’s claims against the ATV owners for $1 million (the limit of the defendants’ liability insurance), plus an additional $350,000 paid personally by the owners, for a total of $1.35 million.
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 million for Johnny from all of these sources. Mark Fong and Dale Minami handled Johnny’s case.
Tesla Rented Via Vehicle Sharing App Strikes Homeless Man: $850,000 Settlement
Our client was a 58-year-old homeless man who was struck while crossing the street by the driver of a Tesla who had rented the car through a popular vehicle sharing app. Our client suffered severe injuries. The driver carried $100,000 in personal auto coverage, which was inadequate to compensate our client for his injuries. The vehicle sharing company advertised to its customers that it carried $1 million in liability insurance to protect persons who owned and rented vehicles through its app. However, the company told our client it would cover his injuries only up to $105,000, based on its interpretation of the law and its insurance policy. We analyzed the defendant’s insurance policy and the recently enacted statute under which vehicle sharing programs exist in California (Insurance Code section 11580.24.) We argued the defendant was negligent in allowing the driver to rent a Tesla through its app, as the number of prior moving violations he had and his young age disqualified him from renting the car according to defendant’s own policies. The company ultimately paid $750,000 in settlement to our client. When added to the policy limits of the driver’s insurance, this brought our client’s total recovery to $850,000. We believe this is one of the first cases to challenge the insurance coverage offered by a vehicle sharing company in a personal injury case involving a car rented through its app.
Pedestrian Struck by Underinsured Motor Vehicle: $300,000 Recovery
As our client was crossing the street, the defendant drove up behind him and made a left turn, striking him. Our client struck his head on the windshield and was thrown off the hood of the car onto the pavement. The defendant driver had an insurance policy limit of only $15,000. Dale Minami was able to obtain another $275,000 from our client’s own insurance policy, which represented the policy limits of our client’s policy.
Dog Bites Young Woman’s Lip – $300,000
Our client was a 32-year-old woman who was visiting an acquaintance in San Ramon, California, when she was bitten by the homeowner’s pit bull/Welsh Corgi mix. While she was petting the dog, it jumped up and bit her face and upper lip, causing injuries to about 1/3 of her lip. We arranged for a plastic surgeon to repair her lip. Our client also suffered emotional distress, including nightmares and flashbacks from the attack. Dale Minami settled the case for $300,000, which represented the homeowner’s maximum policy limits.