HUGHSON, CA - Plaintiff, a soft-spoken 19 year old girl, was visiting her boyfriend’s home when the boyfriend invited her to drive his ATV. Fearful of injuring herself, the plaintiff wisely turned down the offer. In a second visit, the boyfriend encouraged her again. When the plaintiff declined, he goaded her to do so, urging her to try it despite her fears. The plaintiff finally acquiesced, and the boyfriend instructed her on how to (and only how to) accelerate and shift up through the gears. A properly-fitting helmet was not available for her to use. Unfortunately—and predictably—she accelerated directly into the fence ahead of her.
Obviously, the plaintiff’s reservations were well-founded. However, her boyfriend, eager to have an ATV-riding partner, implored her a third time to drive the vehicle. The plaintiff again relented, but was offered no instruction or a proper helmet. Again she drove into the fence. Sadly, this time she was launched face-first into it, losing three teeth and sustaining a minor head injury.
The girl had no desire to pursue litigation against her boyfriend. She did however need expensive dental work to regain her smile. She thus hired The Dunnion Law Firm to pursue a claim with the boyfriend’s homeowners insurance on her behalf.
The matter was challenging from the beginning, as the insurance carrier took the position that the girl assumed the risk of driving the ATV, and was entitled to nothing. It also presented evidence that a helmet was offered but rejected by the plaintiff. Obviously, the plaintiff bore significant responsibility for her own injuries. Even worse, if she proceeded to trial, she faced the very real possibility of a defense verdict (meaning she would receive no award of damages and in fact have to pay some of the defendant’s litigation costs). The plaintiff thus asked her attorneys to get her the best result possible without litigation.
The Dunnion Law Firm helped manage her care and her need for dental, orthodontic, and oral surgery. Despite medical bills of about $600, her attorney secured a $50,000 settlement without the need for litigation.