Mark and Sandra L. v. Utility Company

An impatient utility van driver sped up behind and swerved around Mr. & Mrs. L but failed to clear their vehicle before turning back into their lane. The impact shoved our clients’ vehicle into the grass median where it nearly fell onto its left side. This caused our driver to strike his head against the A post and caused his wife’s head to fall into his right shoulder from her passenger seat. The utility van fled even as Mr. L called in the collision to 911 and identified the utility company van by its logo.

Mr. L suffered a traumatic brain injury with cognitive and vision impairments, and Mrs. L injured her already arthritic neck to the point where she eventually underwent a 3-level cervical fusion surgery. Representatives from the utility company visited our clients at the trailer in which they lived, and promised them that they had caught the at-fault driver trying to spray paint over the damage on the van in an effort to doctor the evidence and avoid the consequences. They also said that they subjected him to drug tests and that he failed and was fired. They further promised to settle with the couple within two weeks, so “please don’t hire a lawyer,” they said.

Well, two weeks went by. Three weeks went by. After the fourth week of suffering and waiting to be re-contacted by the utility company, our clients contacted the woman from the legal department who had come to their trailer and had given them her business card and made all the promises. They asked her: “It’s been more than 2 weeks. What are you going to do about the collision with the van?”. The utility legal rep’s answer was, “What collision? What van? Who are you?” as if she knew nothing about it and had never met these people.

Mr. and Mrs. L hired Dennis Phillips to represent them and to seek justice.

Since the case was a hit-and-run with nobody accepting liability, Mr. Phillips first sought to make a UM claim. Based upon the medical evidence and Mr. Phillips’ legal argument, the UM carrier tendered $100,000 policy limits to each of the injured clients. With this money, the clients were able to move from their trailer and purchase a single family home. A prior attorney had filed separate suits for Mr. and for Mrs. L for some reason, but Mr. Phillips consolidated them into one action, and began to take discovery.

The utility company was evasive and tried to argue that our clients were comparatively at fault and that all of their medical conditions were pre-existing, but this is typical insurance defense mumbo jumbo. Mr. Phillips brought in two other lawyers to assist, and this case eventually resolved for a significant, but confidential, amount after mediation.