Partner Dale Minami recently settled a case for client M. Jay (not the person’s real name), a 60-year-old, self-employed dentist who suffered injuries when his car was hit by an oncoming car in Sept. 2008 in Oakland.
Dr. Jay’s injuries were so severe that he was forced to take months off from his private practice, and in the process, losing many of his patients who had to find other dentists. The $510,000 settlement that Minami was able to obtain for Dr. Jay will help cover past and future loss of income and medical costs. The amount was the maximum recovery under Dr. Jay’s insurance policy with the California State Automobile Association (CSAA).
The collision occurred when a car driven by Ms. Karl entered the same intersection as Dr. Jay going in the opposite direction, and Ms. Karl suddenly made a left turn into the intersection, colliding with Dr. Jay’s car, totalling the vehicle. Ms. Karl had only $25,000 of coverage, which was recovered before the remaining $475,000 was paid by Dr. Jay’s own insurance company. IN addition, Minami obtained a waiver from CSAA of $10,000 in medical expenses which they could have claimed as an offset to the $500,000.
Ms. Karl claimed that she did not see Dr. Jay’s vehicle or any oncoming traffic. An independent witness verified Dr. Jay’s version of the collision, as did the investigating officer, who found Ms. Karl at fault.
Dr. Jay immediately experienced tremendous pain in his left wrist and forearm, He was rushed to the emergency room where the doctors diagnosed compound fractures of both forearm bones. Surgery was performed and a metal plate was inserted into Dr. Jay’s left arm, along with 11 screws. After the surgery, he continued to experience skin inflammation over his left elbow, numbness, swelling and pain in his left hand.
Even after future treatment, Dr. Jay’s left hand would not be fully functional, said a physician. This condition would impact his ability to service patients as a dentist.
CSAA disputed the extent of the injuries and argued that Dr. Jay’s loss of income was lower than he claimed. With the help of a forensic accountant, Dr. Jay was able to prove his loss of income. CSAA then offered the policy limits in addition to the medical payment coverage of $10,000. While no amount of money could restore Dr. Jay to his pre-accident condition, he has obtained both a measure of justice and compensation to soften the serious injuries he suffered.