$200,000: Plaintiff Collects Over Policy Limits For Rear End Automobile Incident

CASE DESCRIPTION: Plaintiff was stopped at an intersection when she was rear-ended by a car. The impact was so great that both cars were totaled. Although the Defendant did not dispute liability they did dispute the amount of damages incurred by the Plaintiff and whether the case settlement would exceed the policy limits.

RESULT: $200,000.00 total settlement.

On November 3, 1999 Plaintiff was legally stopped at an intersection waiting to make a left turn onto Gay Street, located in Cypress, California. Suddenly and without warning, she was violently struck from behind by Defendant’s vehicle. Plaintiff and Defendant’s vehicles both sustained “total” damage to their respective vehicles. As a result, both cars were forced to be towed from the scene. The Cypress Police Department, immediately conducted an investigation of the incident and interviewed Defendant who claimed that she struck Plaintiff at about 42 miles per hour and that she was either “looking over at her speedometer” or looking “over at her son” when the incident occurred. Defendant was cited with violating Vehicle Code §22350.

Plaintiff argued that the Farmer’s Insurance policy was “open” due to the incident. Thus a policy limits demand to Farmer’s Insurance was made. However, the demand was not accepted in a timely fashion. Plaintiff subsequently contended that she would present an excess case for the full extent of her damages despite the policy limits.

Defendant contended that the injuries suffered by Plaintiff were not due to the subject automobile incident. In addition she had a long-standing history of neck complaints due to her work as a court reporter. Therefore the defense took the position that the insurance policy was not “open” and that the most the Plaintiff would be able to collect from any judgment was $100,000.

TYPE OF CASE: Auto v. Auto

INJURIES: Severe neck damage leading to an anterior cervical fusion and discectomy at C5-6 and 6-7, damage to both of her wrists leading to two additional separate surgeries.

DATE & LOCATION OF INCIDENT: On 11/3/99 at Crescent Avenue and Gay Street in the City of Cypress, California.

PLAINTIFF’S AGE: 60 at time of the incident.

OCCUPATION: Court Reporter

Christopher R. Aitken & Richard A. Cohn
For Plaintiff – Darlene F.

Danny Soong & Bruce Schechter
For Defendant – Krista M. & Yvonne D.