New York personal injury cases can take weird twists and turns, sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse. Here’s one that took a dramatic turn for the better, twice!
A client was badly, really badly, injured in an upstate New York car crash. But the at-fault driver (who was also the owner) of the car was insured for only $100,000, and all the evidence about him (where he lived, the type of vehicle he was driving, etc.) indicated he would have no significant assets beyond the insurance policy.
So I called my client into my office to give him the bad news: It looked like $100,000 was all that was available to compensate him for his terrible loss, including past and future medical expenses, a lifetime of lost wages, and a large dose of lifetime pain and suffering. You can’t get water from a rock, and this negligent driver looked like a really, really dry rock.
But as I sat there with my client explaining this to him, a small fissure cracked open in the dry rock, and water began to gush out. Here’s how: The client bitterly mentioned that the driver of that other vehicle seemed more concerned about the safety of the “bovine sperm” he was carrying in the back of his pickup than about my client’s injuries at the scene. The driver actually mentioned that he was checking to see if the bovine sperm was secure. This was a glimmer of hope to me. Could this driver have been on-the-job transporting the sperm for some someone else ? If so, the employer would also be liable, and that would mean more insurance coverage.
But it seemed unlikely; the police report did not mention an employer, and the pickup truck, as depicted in the police photos, did not display any logo or company name. It was just a plain pickup truck. And the driver himself, not some corporation, owned the vehicle.
So I wrote the driver’s insurance adjuster and asked her to ask the driver. And lo and behold, turns out the guy was on-the-job for a livestock sperm distribution company.
I then sued the driver and the employer. During the course of the lawsuit, I demanded to know the employer’s insurance policy limits. The lawyer for the company disclosed a $1,000,000 policy. After I got several favorable rulings on the case (summary judgment on liability and on the issue that the injury was “serious”), I demanded the full $1 million policy limit (I had already gotten my client the $100,000 from the driver’s policy).
Then more water began to gush out of the fissure. The lawyer wrote back saying that he had discovered an additional insurance policy for $10,000,000, which he had accidentally overlooked the first time!
Now I am drafting a truly fair settlement demand that will compensate my seriously injured New York car accident victim for every last dime he is entitled to for his past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, and lifetime of pain and suffering.
As I said at the outset, New York personal injury lawyers are used to strange twists and turns in our cases. But two big turns for the good in a row are as rare as they are welcomed.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer Michaels & Smolak, P.C.