Janssen Malloy LLP this month obtained a $1.5 million recovery for our client in a motorcycle crash hit and run case. While the Eureka Police Department initially listed the defendant hit and run driver as “unknown” (since he fled the scene of the collision), our investigation located the defendant, and we were able to prove liability and recover the limits of his auto liability insurance coverage (California’s mandatory minimum of $15,000). That perfected our client’s right to pursue compensation under his underinsured motorist (“UIM”) coverage with his own insurance carrier.
Our client was seriously inured in the crash, suffering orthopedic fractures of his ribs and wrist, as well as back injuries and a traumatic brain injury. He ultimately required two back surgeries, and had a substantial past and future wage loss claim due to his functional limitations that precluded him returning to his employment as a building contractor.
Our client had $500,000 UIM coverage with his own insurer, but also had a $1 million excess or “umbrella” policy coverage on top of the underlying $500,000 UIM limit, for a combined coverage of $1.5 million. We demanded arbitration of his UIM claim with his own insurer, after they refused to pay the limits pursuant to our documented settlement demand. The case proceeded through litigation, with ten expert depositions completed, and our client’s insurer finally agreed to pay the full policy limits two weeks before the binding arbitration hearing (a binding arbitration is the trial procedural remedy available in a UIM dispute). The case presented challenges on liability, proof of damages, and expert testimony, and only resolved for the maximum amount of available coverage because the case was properly prepared for arbitration.
This case displays the need for experienced trial counsel to steer a client’s case through the obstacles of insurance coverage to full, just and fair compensation. The trial attorneys at Janssen Malloy LLP stand ready to assist those inured through the negligence and wrongdoing of others.