TYPE OF CASE: Personal Injury, Pedestrian.
WHAT HAPPENED: An elderly Hispanic resident of Santa Fe was walking on the sidewalk of busy St. Michael’s Drive when she got blindsided by a car that was being delivered to a car dealership. Her leg was crushed, her mobility and quality of life substantially impaired for the remainder of her years. At primary fault was the out-of-state trucking company, which was routinely delivering vehicles in a recklessly unsafe manner, as well as the dealership, which was complicit.
CHALLENGES: Though she was a legal resident entitled to the same protections under the law as any citizen, the victim’s version of events was discounted by the insurers of the at-fault companies. We have observed that in the legal system and the insurance industry, there are subtle (and often not so subtle) forms of discrimination practiced against Spanish speakers. Furthermore, insurance companies routinely mistreat the elderly, discounting their medical damages, pain, and suffering as pre-existing conditions—old age.
STRATEGY, TACTICS: Due to our familiarity with Santa Fe jurors, we immediately recognized that our client was a sympathetic victim, and swiftly gathered the material that would tell her story in evocative human terms. We deployed a sensitive translator, who has legal skills, and videographer to record her suffering in the hospital and struggling at home. We also conducted an undercover investigation to collect video evidence that the trucking company unloaded vehicles in this this unsafe way all the time.
FOR THE WIN: In response to our demand, which detailed all of these circumstances and more, the insurers settled the case for a substantial sum. After that, we negotiated our client’s medical expenses down significantly.
BONUS WINS: Collateral benefits of the case include enhanced community safety—deliveries to the dealership are now made in a much safer manner—and the satisfaction of holding an out-of-state company responsible for its actions here in Santa Fe.
TYPE OF CASE: Car wreck.
WHAT HAPPENED: A family of four from Mexico was travelling legally after visiting family in Colorado. On the interstate near Santa Fe, their car was sandwiched between vehicles, and got crushed from the rear by an RV going 70 mph. All four members of the family were injured, and the 18-month-old toddler needed emergency brain surgery.
CHALLENGES: Because of their nationality, these were particularly vulnerable clients. The initial police report incorrectly blamed the father for the wreck, making an insurance claim and compensation for the family’s considerable damages impossible to pursue.
STRATEGY, TACTICS: We engaged an expert in the specialized field of accident reconstruction. He proved that the father was not at fault, convinced the policeman that he had been wrong, and the officer changed his report accordingly. We filed a thorough and persuasive demand to the insurance companies of the other drivers.
FOR THE WIN: After facing the prospect of financial ruin due to significant medical expenses, the family received a significant settlement that they considered this a fair and just compensation.
TYPE OF CASE: Premises liability.
WHAT HAPPENED: An athletic middle-aged woman suffered a hip injury by slipping on melted snow in a chain retail store. The company delayed resolving her claim in an effort to run out the clock on the three-year statute of limitations for filing suit. The victim eventually needed surgery.
CHALLENGE: Our client, who had long labored under the misconception that the insurance company would do the right thing, waited until the last minute to approach us.
STRATEGY, TACTICS: We immediately recognized it was a worthy case, and went into action with urgency and aggressiveness. We filed suit the day after she walked in, and the case went to mediation.
FOR THE WIN: Our client was awarded a large sum of money more than the company was originally prepared to pay.
TYPE OF CASE: Car wreck, with bodily injury and fatality.
WHAT HAPPENED: A young mother under the influence of multiple drugs rear-ended a truck. Her four- year-old son was killed, and her 10-month-old baby had severe injuries, including a broken back. The mother was convicted of two crimes and sentenced to prison.
CHALLENGES: We represented the baby girl—the ultimate innocent victim of a horribly tragic event—and we were determined to fight on her behalf. But there was no insurance on the vehicle the mother drove, so there was no clear path to compensation. The identity of her father is unknown, which was another complicating factor in what also became an estate case.
STRATEGY, TACTICS: In every case, we do whatever it takes to get to know the client’s story in full. This time, that meant going beyond the police report to conduct an onsite investigation of the home where the family lived, which was the grandparents’ house. There we noticed three vehicles in the driveway, which opened the door to multiple sources of insurance coverage.
FOR THE WIN: As the survivor in the wrongful death of her brother and the victim of her mother’s crime of inflicting severe bodily harm, the baby girl received a substantial sum of money, which was placed in trust.
BONUS WIN: The girl was adopted by her foster family. By the time she turns 18 and the trust starts to become available, the value should exceed be more than 15 times the original amount.