$9M Lawsuit Settlement Involving Pizza Hut Shows Importance of Filing a Car Accident Case

When a car sent Jeremy Damery flying 70 feet from his motorcycle after striking him near a Pizza Hut parking lot, he wasn’t sure what kind of life he could lead after that point. He spent months in the hospital, undergoing multiple life-saving surgeries to treat his condition. Multiple fractures, including a split pelvis, two collapsed lungs and other complications all lengthened his stay and put a cloudy haze over his outcome.

Most discouragingly, the care needed to save his life resulted in a mountain of medical bills. He incurred over $1.3 million in medical expenses during his hospitalization and rehabilitation. “I was just unsure financially what my life would be,” he revealed during a recent interview with the press at the Eglet Prince Law office.

Because of the adversarial nature of the defense’s response, a single accident could have put Jeremy Damery’s entire future in limbo. The $9 million settlement he eventually received from the defendants was crucial for his future well-being. It included compensation for past and future medical expenses as well as past and future pain and suffering, disability, and loss of enjoyment of life.

“I never really set any expectations because I didn’t want to dream about something and not be able to obtain it,” reflects Mr. Damery. “I guess the sky is the limit now.”

Mr. Damery’s case illustrates the importance of pursuing your available legal options after a car accident no matter how imposing the resources of a corporate legal team may be.

It also shows how the litigational strategy of a plaintiff in an accident scenario such as this one can potentially bring about positive changes to corporate or governmental policy in the face of an injury claim. One of the central tenets of the plaintiff’s arguments was that a company policy requiring drivers to return within a certain time lead to actions that directly caused the collision and subsequent injuries. The matter was settled without a conclusion to the trial, meaning no admissions of liability were necessarily made, but one can hope that corporate employers will rethink policies such as these that can lead to traumatic outcomes for injury victims.

Ignoring a possible injury claim likely removes the victim’s chance at receiving much-needed compensation as well as the chance that potentially harmful policies could be ameliorated. Because of the resources available to large organizations, injured parties without legal representation at their side often receive offers for just a miniscule portion of their overall damages — or no offer at all. Don’t neglect your rights to assert that any potentially at-fault parties owe you damages for your injuries, or your life could be left in a precarious situation after your accident and potentially hazardous policies or legal oversights could remain in effect.

Explore further how an injury claim similar to the recently settled case might bring about policy changes by taking a look at the information below. You’ll learn about successful results from other car accident injury lawsuits handled by our experienced Las Vegas car accident lawyers as well as what to expect once you begin pursuing your own claim.

A History of Successful Car Accident Jury Awards and Settlements That Could Lead to Positive Policy Changes

The $9 million settlement offered by Pizza Hut and the other defendants represented a drastic change from an earlier offer of $250,000. One can only hope that the switch also heralded reevaluation of internal policies that can lead to unsafe outcomes on the road.

A similar case in California resulted in a jury award of $10.8 million to a mother and daughter who were victims in a delivery driver crash. The defense asserted that the cause of the crash was a sudden medical emergency that was a consequence of the delivery driver having epilepsy. Since the epilepsy was not diagnosed until after the accident, the medical emergency could have been considered “unforeseeable” by the defendant, which can be used as a defense to a negligence claim under California law.

However, the jury rejected the claim that the medical episode was unforeseeable. According to local media coverage of the trial, “juror Joshua Pingel said that he believed Fisk should have known she could have a blackout episode because of her medical history.”

The jury did not find the defendant negligent for hiring the employee, but they did conclude that the company itself was responsible for damages since the driver was their employee. In light of this conclusion, there is a strong possibility that employers of delivery drivers will perform more diligence when evaluating the safety of putting a driver on the road with a potential medical condition.

A series of wrongful death and injury lawsuits related to railroad crossings prompted such policy changes that lead to improved public safety. Not only were conditions at crossings revealed to be undeniably hazardous in some cases, but the defendant was consistently suspected of mishandling evidence and choosing a defensive position of denying all possible liability.

However, one of the cases lead to “a more aggressive, system-wide program to control vegetation at rail crossings.” Additionally, a manual that instructed corporate accident investigators that “ “no useful purpose is served by extensively documenting evidence” implying liability was taken out of service in early 2003 after years of influencing policy.

Injury victims should therefore be unafraid and resolute about exploring their legal options after an accident involving parties with extensive legal and financial resources. An expert attorney can accurately determine if another party is potentially at fault, and with their skills and knowledge of the legal process, injury victims can pursue options that would normally be unavailable or unthinkable to them when acting alone. Through these actions, they can not only find favorable outcomes and injury compensation for themselves, but potentially bring to light risky policies that could be changed for the better.

How a Typical Car Accident Personal Injury Case in Nevada Might Begin and Proceed

The most important thing for a car accident injury victim to do following their incident is to seek emergency medical care. Documentation of the injuries by a medical expert is needed in order to connect any injuries and damages alleged with the collision itself — as opposed to some outside cause.

Injury victims should also take care to discuss the facts of the incident as little as possible with parties who are not the police and related authorities. Disclosing facts of the case early on can put the victim at a disadvantage or allow the defending party to present the victim’s statements as evidence they allege contradicts the injured party’s claim.

For this reason, it can be extremely beneficial to seek out a legal consultation and counseling as early as possible after your accident. Working with an experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorney can help you avoid situations where you unintentionally disclose facts that could be used against your case. A personal injury attorney can also begin immediately investigating the available evidence related to your case.

Once enough evidence is assembled and the initial extent of the injury is known, the attorney will begin considering the legal justification behind the injury claim.

What Forms the Basis of a Personal Injury Claim?

In order for a personal injury case to be legitimate, the following elements must be presented:

  • A significant injury must have occurred, resulting in medical costs and related damages like disability and/or pain and suffering.
  • The injury must have been the direct result of an incident where another party was involved.
  • The other party involved must be considered potentially at fault for the accident. Negligence is a common reason that an additional party may be at fault, for instance. To assert negligence, the other party:
    • Must have a duty of care towards the injured party, such as an obligation to drive safely and obey traffic laws.
    • Must have lapsed in that duty, such as driving recklessly or making dangerous maneuvers.
    • That lapse in duty must have directly caused the incident that directly lead to an injury.

Once these elements are sufficiently established through evidence, an attorney can file a injury claim for their client.

What Happens After an Injury Claim Is Filed?

After the injury victim files a claim, the other party has the option to compensate the injury victim with an amount of money equal to the requested damages. Or, the defending party can present a counter-offer.

If no settlement can be reached, the two sides can consider arbitration or mediation.

If either party decides to decline the opportunity for arbitration or mediation, then the injury victim’s lawyer will file a civil action (lawsuit) intended to have a court evaluate the injury claim. Cases that proceed to trial determine two things:

  1. Whether the alleged at fault party did indeed cause or contribute significantly to the incident that injured the victim.
  2. What a fair amount of monetary compensation for all past and future damages directly resulting from the incident would be.

Cases that proceed to trial can be ended at any time if both parties agree to a mutually satisfactory settlement amount. Otherwise, the case is argued in court until both sides have presented all of their arguments and evidence. Then, the jury convenes and comes to a decision of whether the alleged at fault party was at fault and how much money to award the victim if they were.

Waiting Too Long Can Hurt the Success of Your Personal Injury Claim and the Potential for Positive Change! You Can Find Experienced Las Vegas Car Accident Lawyers Today

A small margin of injury claims are successfully filed long after the incident occured, but those filed as quickly as possible after the incident generally have a better chance at succeeding.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, consider the costs of waiting to pursue your legal options for compensation. A skilled personal injury lawyer can give your case the strategic guidance and expertise you need to increase your chances of a successful outcome. Your case can also bring to light policies that can be fixed to reduce the risk of potentially avoidable accidents and bring appropriate legal protections to others in a similar situation.

Don’t get strapped with medical bills and other disadvantages that make a fulfilling life harder to live! Strongly consider examining all your legal options today.

If you think you may have a personal injury case, you can contact the Eglet Prince Law Firm today for a free consultation. Use our simple online contact form or the phone number you see above to get in touch now.