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Below is a list of cases that will give you a sense of the different types of legal matters we have handled throughout our 30 years of practice.
Our client was seriously injured in an automobile fire while assisting another motorist as part of his employment with the State of West Virginia. The other motorist, who negligently caused the fire, was without insurance. Our client’s insurance company quickly paid the $20,000 state-mandated uninsured motorist coverage. However, the State of West Virginia denied that he was also entitled to coverage under the state’s $1,000,000 uninsured motorist coverage, claiming that he fell within an exclusion to the coverage because he was also entitled to workers’ compensation coverage.
We stayed the case pending the resolution of an appeal of a different case involving the same issue, of which we became aware while building our case. After that appeal was concluded, we negotiated a settlement which provided sufficient up-front revenue for our client to purchase a home and a car. Additionally, a major portion of this recovery was placed in a “structured settlement” which will provide monthly income to the client and his wife. It also provides favorable tax treatment for that recovery. Additionally, a special needs trust was created which will be the payee of the settlement funds, thereby allowing our client to continue to receive governmental assistance with his medical care, which is a substantial additional benefit in light of his serious burn injuries.
Our client felt it had been underpaid under the terms of a coal brokerage contract.
After much investigation and several years of litigation, a seven-figure settlement was paid to our client.
Killed in a car accident
We were approached by the family of a mentally challenged young man who had been tragically killed when struck by an automobile. Our investigation revealed that he had been referred by a mental health agency to a residential home, where he should have been supervised properly. Instead, he was allowed to leave the home because of negligent supervision and wandered into a roadway where he was struck and killed. Our investigation revealed no part on the fault of the driver.
Our firm filed suit against the referring mental health agency and the residential home. The court released the mental health agency, finding that it was not responsible for the young man’s death, and a judgment was obtained against the residential agency. Unfortunately, that agency had gone out of business, and had no known assets. However upon pursuing the matter further, we learned that the residential agency was covered by a liability policy, but that the insurer had denied coverage. We believed that this denial was improper, and we entered into an agreement with the owner of the agency that we would not seek to execute on his personal assets if he would assign his claim against his own insurance company to our client. We then used this assignment to proceed against the insurer for its bad faith practices in handling the claim, ultimately obtaining a seven-figure settlement.
Our client was injured when his hand was pulled into an industrial machine at work, permanently disabling him.
Over the course of much investigation and written discovery, many depositions, and with the assistance of carefully selected experts, we developed strong evidence that the machinery was not properly designed to prevent this type of injury. The defendant apparently agreed, as a settlement was reached which will provide our client with a substantial monthly payment for the rest of his life.
Our client had a bad outcome from a medical procedure and believed that she was the victim of medical malpractice. Upon initial review, it appeared that a medical error might have caused her injuries.
We collected her medical records and sent them to a qualified specialist in that area of medicine for review. That specialist expressed the opinion that the doctor had not violated the standard of care, but that instead the adverse result occurred because of factors beyond the doctor’s control. We explained the doctor’s findings to the client who was happy to have an explanation of what had occurred. By prior arrangement, our firm bore the cost of the document collection and medical review.
Improper calibration of medical equipment
Our client had a bad result from a corneal lens implant. Our investigation revealed that the ophthalmologist had failed to properly calibrate a piece of equipment prior to performing the procedure.
The doctor’s insurer was initially unwilling to discuss a substantial settlement of the claim. However, we enlisted the aid of a well-qualified ophthalmologist to prepare a report concerning the doctor’s departure from the applicable standard of care. Upon presenting this evidence to the doctor’s insurer, we were able to arrive at a settlement of the claim.
Our client was injured in an auto accident. However, the investigating officer found him to be at fault and issued a traffic citation.
We believed the investigating officer had formed conclusions which were contrary to the proper interpretation of the mechanics of the accident, based upon the available evidence; therefore, we took the case. The other driver’s insurance company initially refused to discuss settlement, but after we developed our case, we were able to negotiate a settlement favorable to our client.
Injury during ambulance transport
Our firm had a case in which our client was injured while being transported in an ambulance. Subsequent to us receiving the case, the insurance company for the ambulance service became insolvent and was placed in receivership. The case was further complicated by the fact that our client was seriously ill and passed away during our representation.
We pursued the claim against the West Virginia Guarantee Fund, which is a statutory fund that resolves and pays claims against insolvent insurers. We were also able to obtain additional funds by settling with the client’s own automobile insurance carrier, under separate policies. In this way, we maximized the uninsured motorist policy limits from both parties. These funds were made of part of our deceased client’s estate for the ultimate benefit of the family she left behind.