A long time Bakersfield resident was crossing the street in front of his house, where he lived for nearly half a century. The street has grown to a busy four lane street 70 feet across with no lights or crosswalks within a thousand feet of his house. The man owned a business across the street from his home and he crossed the street to return home every evening for years.
In March 2012 the man looked both directions and no traffic was coming from either direction. When the man was about half way across the street a car began to approach from a distance at a high rate of speed. The man hurried and sped up his walking to get out of the street, but the car did not slow and it struck the man within 3 feet of the curb.
The man was thrown up on the hood of the car, struck the windshield and then was thrown nearly 20 feet in the air into a street sign. The man’s wife was watching him cross from their home’s front yard and she saw his unconscious body fly threw the air landing motionless and she knew her husband was dead. Luckily, the man was not dead, but did sustain a head injury and a complicated leg fracture.
The police officer blamed the pedestrian because he was not in a crosswalk. The vehicle’s insurance carrier blamed the pedestrian because the police report put the pedestrian at fault. Even the pedestrian’s own insurance carrier refused to place blame on the vehicle so the man and his wife turned to The Dunnion Law Firm.
The Dunnion Law Firm argued the police officer was wrong, that the street was clear when the pedestrian began to cross and the vehicle should have yielded to the pedestrian once he was in the street. The vehicle’s insurance immediately changed their evaluation when The Dunnion Law Firm threatened litigation. The pedestrian’s own insurance continued to refuse to accept the vehicle was responsible and the pedestrian had to demand arbitration against his own insurance carrier. The Dunnion Law Firm immediately made a statutory demand for the underinsured motorist policy limits pursuant to CCP §998 and initiated written discovery. Before the statutory offer expired, the insurance carrier finally offered the policy limits to its own insured. The pedestrian received settlement from the multiple insurance coverages for the total amount available under the policy in the sum of $255,000.00.