The 14-year old client was out bike riding in the country with his family.
They had gone to a lake for a picnic and frolic and were returning home.
When they reached their intersection, father rode across; sister saw a
pick-up truck coming and waited, but brother set out after father and
was hit–the impact knocking him off his bicycle and fracturing his
skull. He was in a coma for a few days but eventually came through. He
suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him with personality changes.
Through the preliminary stages of litigation, the defendant never offered
more than $95,000 to settle the case, relying on the fact that the police
report was 100% adverse to the boy and that his head injury should be
attributed to the fact that he was not wearing a helmet, rather than to
their driver’s negligence. Following a mediation, where Dunnion
did not waiver in his belief that the defendant should pay the full policy,
Dunnion presented the defendant with a statutory demand for the policy.
If not paid within 30 days, this kind of demand obligates the defendant
to pay the plaintiff’s legal costs, and usually results in an additional
obligation to pay the excess judgment, IF the plaintiff gets a better
verdict from the jury. Ultimately the defendant was not willing to risk
the possibility of such a large verdict and paid the $750,000 a few hours
before the demand would have expired. The settlement will be put into
an annuity for the boy that should make up for the fact that he may have
lost some earning power.