A 27 year old Waterford man was riding his 2008 Harley Davidson motorcycle on January 29th in the City of Modesto. As he was driving on Westbound Orangeberg Avenue, a vehicle operated by an insurance executive suddenly swerved across the road and into his motorcycle, causing him to lose control and fall to the pavement. The young man sustained a fracture to his right leg and was transported by ambulance to the hospital. He had been going through some hard times, and unfortunately had allowed his insurance on the motorcycle to lapse. This set the stage for a very disturbing call when he reached out to the insurance executive’s carrier and asked them for compensation. He was told that as a result of Prop 213 (no civil code section 333.4), that they only had to pay for medical bills, and further, that because his medical bills were paid bay Medi Cal, they only had to pay the amount that entity had to pay the hospital. This was a very reduced amount, approximately $9,000.
Laying in the hospital in pain and fearing that he would not be able to seek employment to maintain his family, he happened to see a commercial for the Dunnion Law Firm on television. He called the firm and retained the Dunnion Law Firm. The attorneys at the Dunnion Law Firm immediately went to work and set up treatment for him that would treat on a lien basis. His injuries soon healed, however he still had some residual problems that were preventing him from obtaining gainful employment. The Dunnion attorney then referred him to a vocational rehabilitation expert for an evaluation of his loss of earning capacity. An expert was also hired to substantiate any future medical needs. With that information the Dunnion Law Firm attorney filed a lawsuit.
Faced with the lawsuit the defendant agreed to a mediation. Unfortunately the insurance company remained dogged but slowly reached a final offer of $50,000. The Dunnion Law Firm attorney, in consultation with the young man, rejected the offer and prepared a statutory offer for settlement, pursuant to California Procedure Code Section 998. That code section is designed to shift the burden of the cost of trial to defendant if it is not accepted. In this case, the CCP 998 offer was in the amount of $100,000. The mediator in this case urged the defendants to accept the CCP 998 offer, and after considering the defense’s considerable expense in going to trial and the risk of additional expenses being shifted to them as a result of the statutory offer, accepted the offer and the case settled for $100,000. The injured victim of this accident who, by law, could not get any money for his pain and suffering, nonetheless was pleased by the work done by the Dunnion Law Firm in moving his initial offer of $9,000 to the $100,000 settlement.