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Our Client v. A Major Trucking Company and Individual Defendant

The case was filed in San Francisco Superior Court and was settled at mediation for $850,000 after extensive discovery. Our client was from New York City. When he was younger he went to a prep school in California and one of is good friends resided in the Palo Alto area. When both of them graduated from college, they decided to rendezvous in the Bay Area to celebrate. Our client flew out and on one evening the boys decided to drive into San Francisco. Our client’s friend borrowed his parents’ car and they went bar hopping all over San Francisco. Our client’s friend got intoxicated and our client also was intoxicated but not as bad. On the last bar stop in San Francisco south of Market Street, there was a discussion about whether the friend was able to drive home and he and some friends he met at the bar agreed that he was capable. Our client had not seen his childhood friend for many years and had consumed considerable alcohol, too, so his judgment was impaired about who should be driving. In any event, the friend got behind the wheel and entered southbound Highway 101 in San Francisco and went less than a mile when he lost control of the car, hit the center divider and came to rest in the middle of the freeway. It was a well lighted area and it was about 1AM in the morning. Traffic was very light. Our client loss consciousness briefly and then regained it long enough to open the passenger door to attempt to get free of the car. He had just unlatched his seatbelt to get out when he saw bright lights and there was a huge impact from behind. An 18 wheel truck/trailer collided with the disabled car and pushed it forward a considerable distance. Our client was thrown free of the wreckage and sustained a crushed pelvis and other orthopedic injuries. The case settled at mediation for the car driver’s policy limits plus an additional amount from the truck driver for inattention. The evidence showed that the impact was in the middle lane of three lanes and the disabled car was quite visible. There was ample room to go around the car on the right or the left and the physical evidence indicated that the trucker was speeding. Our client’s friend claimed after the collision that it was our client, and not he, who was driving. This necessitated considerable expert testimony about the blood stains in the car and the seat belt trauma to the driver’s body proving that he was driving. It became clear that our client was not driving.