Million dollar settlement and other recent cases

Million dollar settlement and other recent cases

These verdicts and settlements are reported in the October 31, 2011 addition of the Missouri Lawyers Weekly, a weekly newspaper that the law firm of Cantor and Associate regularly reviews and studies. It is important for attorneys to know the value of other cases throughout the state to effectively value our own client's injury cases.

The family of a police officer that was killed in a training exercise by a co-worker while training in an abandoned school building in St. Joseph's Missouri received $376,328.00. The shooter forgot that he had a real round in his gun and the co-worker (deceased) asked to see what it felt like to be shot with the fake round, and he was. Unfortunately, he was immediately killed with the live round and left a six year old daughter. In addition to this civil case the victim's family will received workers' compensation benefits.

A woman crashed on ice as a result of St. Louis City failing to properly maintain its streets after a broken water main received $106,000.00 from a verdict in the City. The jurors felt that the Plaintiff was at fault and reduced the total amount that she received to $63,600.00. In the lawsuit the Plaintiff states that she broke her neck and injured her thigh bone and knee cap along with permanent scaring to her face. She was found 40% at fault which is why the jury amount of $106,000.00 was reduced to $63,600.00.

In another automobile collision, the Plaintiff was injured at an intersection. As with all automobile accident claims, it is the Plaintiff's burden to prove both liability and damages. In this case, the Plaintiff alleged that he had "severe painful injuries to his head, neck, back, pelvis and body as a whole and thought that he would need a tremendous amount of future medical care. The Plaintiff asked for $50,000.00 and the defense offered $10,000.00. The jury in Laclede County awarded a verdict of only $2,774.00. I always say pigs go to feed and hogs get slaughtered and it is clear that this client for that law firm should have accepted the offer of judgment of $10,000.00. I bet that after attorneys' fees and expenses that the Plaintiff will receive no money at all. It seems that the jury didn't believe the Plaintiff or his experts and the jury punished them for that. The demand had been the policy limits and the lesson here needs to be to evaluate both liability and damages very carefully when choosing to reject an offer and proceed to trial.

Some other lawyers published a settlement of $20,000.00 for slip and fall. They have published a case where they did not even file a lawsuit and some lawyers use the Lawyers Weekly to attempt to brag about their results. At Cantor and Associate, we do not believe a $20,000.00 settlement in a case that did not require a lawsuit should be published in the legal journal. Slip and fall cases are difficult ones and a settlement in slip and fall is generally a good idea because it can be easily lost at trial, my point is simply that it should not have been published.

In another case a police chief entered into a home after hearing yelling between the folks that live there. One of the persons in the home ran into a back room and attempted to slam the door but caught the police chief's foot. The slamming of the door fractured the foot and later caused an amputation of the small toe, likely because he also has diabetes. The case settled for $257,500.00.

There was a million dollar settlement for a seven year old that was killed in Kansas City. Apparently the seven year old was walking home when a fire truck went through a school zone and struck the child. In addition to the City of Kansas City being named as the defendant, a moving company was also involved in the accident which apparently blocked the sight of the child from the fire engine. From the way it was reported it seems that they contributed to the settlement of one million dollars.

A medical doctor was injured in a case and won a $90,000.00 verdict after being involved in a car accident with little or no property damage. Apparently in that case that doctor argued about future medical needs and the jury agreed.

There was another car accident with a defense verdict. The last offer by the insurance company for the dairy company was $35,000.00 and the last demand was $50,000.00. A Texas County Circuit Court jury awarded no damages at all. The accident occurred as the driver had a heart attack and died. After the heart attack the vehicle ran into a guard shack and caused injuries. The defense argues that it was an act of God and even though there were injuries here it seems that the case should have settled. The lesson here is don't expect a jury to award damages if they believe nothing could have been done to prevent them, in other words that there was no negligence.

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