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Auto Accident / 1.06.2022

Westlake Injury Law Recovers Over $800,000 For Victim Whose Insurance Valued Her Claim at $17,000 - Collision Resulted in Only $1,200 in Property Damage

Author: Westlake Injury Law

Vigorous Representation Results in Large Settlement for Client with Pre-Existing Condition

Too often, individuals who are injured in car accidents end up settling their cases for far less than they are worth. Insurance companies will pressure injured parties into accepting a low ball offer in an effort to avoid litigation and pay less than the true damages suffered by the plaintiff.

At Westlake Injury Law, we know the unscrupulous tactics that insurance companies use to deny injured parties’ claims. We fight hard to ensure that our clients never settle for less than fair and full compensation. If you have been injured in a car accident, contact our office at (805) 338-6880 for a free consultation. 

Car Accident Settlement for Client with Radiculopathy

Westlake Injury Law founder and lead trial attorney Russ Ercolani recently secured an over $800,000 settlement on behalf of a client who was injured in a car accident. The insurance company originally valued the claim at only $17,000 in a collision that caused only $1,200 in property damage to her car.  When she refused to accept her first attorney’s assessment that this was the most the insurance carrier would ever pay, she sought representation from Westlake Injury Law.   After three years of aggressive litigation, Attorney Ercolani was able to achieve a settlement of over $800,000 on behalf of this car accident victim.

Attorney Ercolani was able to prove that the client’s pre-existing degenerative disc disease was exacerbated by the accident and caused Radiculopathy that resulted in a surgery over 3 years after the collision. Radiculopathy is a painful medical condition caused by the “pinching of a nerve root in the spinal column” which can caused numbness, tingling and weakness in the hands, arms, feet or legs.

Dedicated Advocacy for Clients with Pre-Existing Conditions

California law protects plaintiffs who are more susceptible to injury through what is often referred to as the “eggshell plaintiff” rule. While liable parties are generally not responsible for a pre-existing injury or condition, they can be held accountable if their conduct aggravated an underlying condition. 

The law recognizes that not all injured parties are the same and that not all accidents will affect people in the same way. Therefore, a person who negligently or wrongfully causes injury to another takes the plaintiff as they are at the time of the accident. Highly susceptible plaintiffs might be entitled to additional compensation if the defendant’s actions made their pre-existing condition worse.

Fair and Reasonable Compensation

Under most circumstances, a plaintiff or injured party is not entitled to damages for any physical or emotional condition that they had before the accident occurred. However, pursuant to the California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI), when the defendant’s conduct aggravates the plaintiff’s pre-existing condition or disability, they must be fully compensated for the effect that the accident had on their condition.

Under CACI No. 3927, damages may be awarded for a plaintiff’s physical or emotional condition that was made worse by the defendant’s wrongful conduct. According to the instruction, a jury must award damages that would “reasonably and fairly compensate” the plaintiff for the effect the defendant’s conduct had on their preexisting condition.

Unusually Susceptible Plaintiff

Additionally, the California Courts recognize that an unusually susceptible plaintiff must receive fair and full compensation based on their specific damages and not those of a normally healthy person. 

Under CACI No. 3928, a jury is instructed that they must award the amount of money that would “reasonably and fairly compensate” the plaintiff for all damages caused by the wrongful act of the defendant. This is true even if the injury victim was more susceptible to injury as compared with a normal healthy person and even if a healthy person would not have suffered the same kind of injury.

Why You Should Hire an Attorney After an Accident

As evidenced by our recent victory on behalf of a client with a serious and painful pre-existing condition, insurance companies routinely try to downplay injuries or deny claims outright. Without an experienced attorney fighting to get you the compensation you deserve, you may end up settling for a mere fraction of the amount you are owed.

Few people outside of the legal world know about the eggshell plaintiff doctrine, and even those that do may not know how to use it correctly in preparing a case for trial. At the Westlake Injury Law, we work tirelessly to ensure that our clients receive the largest recovery possible after an injury. We will not rest until you receive the maximum compensation available on your case.

Have a Pre-Existing Condition Made Worse by a Recent Accident? Contact Our Office Today.

Do you or a loved one suffer from a pre-existing condition or disability that was made worse by a recent car accident? Contact our office at (805) 338-6880 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We proudly represent injury victims throughout Ventura and Los Angeles County.

We have been fighting for injured parties for over a decade and have recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients. Remember, you only have a limited amount of time to file a claim for damages. Call now to learn about your legal options and to get the dedicated representation you deserve.

 Contact us today at (805) 338-6880 for a free consultation, and let us fight for your rights.

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Timing is Everything.

Do not delay in addressing your legal concerns. If your situation has gotten out of hand, contact a Ventura County lawyer at the Westlake Injury Law to learn more about how we may be able to help you.

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