Plaintiff was a kind woman of 70 who struggled with quickly-advancing dementia. One day, she and her family visited friends in Fowler, outside Fresno, California. At the friends home, she indicated she needed to use the bathroom. The homeowner instructed her to walk through the linoleum-floored kitchen to reach the bathroom just beyond. However, the homeowner forgot to mention that he had just finished mopping the floor, and that it was dangerously slick and wet. As soon as she set foot on it, she suffered a massive fall that fractured her patella.
Though she was able to recover, her dementia symptoms continued to worsen. Her husband worked tirelessly around the clock as her only caretaker. She and her family wanted to make a claim against the homeowner’s insurance company, but her health was rapidly deteriorating due to her dementia. As she neared death, they contacted the Dunnion Law Firm. Under California law, if a plaintiff dies from an unrelated injury her claim can continue, but the amount of compensation received by her family would be drastically reduced. CCP § 377.34 states that though her family could be reimbursed for medical expenses, they would not receive money for pain and suffering if she were to pass away before conclusion of her case.
Thus, with a short time to work on the case, it was a race against the clock to obtain a fair settlement for the victim and her husband before she passed away. The Dunnion Law Firm completed the necessary legal formalities, aggressively negotiated her case, and stayed in constant contact with her family—even on the weekends. Her attorneys steadily increased the offers from the insurance company over a matter of days by tens of thousands of dollars at a time. Finally, the family advised late one Sunday evening that time was running out. The next morning, her attorneys locked in her settlement just hours before her death. The extra money The Dunnion Law Firm was able to secure (over $100,000) provided much-needed relief for the husband, who had stopped working long ago to support his wife and was struggling to survive. He was able to pay the debts accumulated while acting as her caretaker, pay for her funeral and medical expenses, and still have money left over for himself.