$400,000 – Three Unbelted Passengers Injured in Auto Accident

Plaintiffs were a husband and wife visiting from another country and driving from Lake Tahoe to the Bay Area with their 25-year-old daughter-in-law. A municipality-owned truck made a left-hand turn in front of plaintiffs, causing the accident.

As a result of the accident, plaintiff’s wife and daughter-in-law sustained broken hips and plaintiff’s husband sustained a back injury.

All of the plaintiffs’ medical bills were covered by a travel insurance policy and there was no significant wage loss because of the low wages that plaintiffs earn in another country.

The municipality took the position that plaintiffs should recover no money, because if they had been wearing their seat belts there would have been no injury.

Winer, McKenna & Burritt, LLP, overcame this defense by providing legal precedent that plaintiffs’ financial compensation should be “reduced” by the fact that they were not wearing seatbelts but should not be eliminated. Further, plaintiff retained an expert whose testimony put into doubt whether wearing a seatbelt would have, in fact, prevented plaintiffs’ injuries.

RESULT:
Settlement for plaintiffs, $400,000