Personal Injury and Wrongful Death

We have an outstanding record of success helping our clients

A “personal injury” case is one in which a person seeks to recover compensation for losses arising from injuries caused by another person’s carelessness or neglect.

Personal injury claims arise from a variety of circumstances, including:

  • Automobile collisions
  • Motorcycle or bicycle crashes
  • Pedestrians hit by vehicles
  • Falls caused by unsafe conditions
  • Dog maulings, bites, and attacks
  • Dangerous conditions of public or private property
  • Unsafe consumer products or drugs
  • Defectively designed or maintained roadways
  • Collisions involving public transportation (bus, train, taxi, MUNI, BART)
  • Elder abuse or dependent abuse

When the injury results in death, the surviving family members may be entitled to bring a “wrongful death” claim to recover for the loss of their loved one.

Our clients come to us in times of need, having been severely injured or having lost a family member. In those times, our clients rest assured that Emison Hullverson will do everything necessary to protect their rights while they concentrate on healing. As described below, Emison Hullverson has an outstanding record of success helping our clients.

Successes in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

Case Type: Personal Injury / Auto / Pedestrian
Case Description: Men crushed against wall by out of control car.
Result: $5.5 Million Settlement
Summary:

Two men were at walk-up windows in San Francisco. An Errant Delivery Co. delivery car left the roadway, went up the wheelchair ramp at that corner, across the sidewalk, and into the walk-up windows. The two men, Juan Diaz and John Doe, were crushed between the car and the building. Diaz, then 27 years old, sustained a severe crush injury to his left leg. The Errant Delivery Co. driver contended that the car's brakes had failed and that the only place for him to go was into the building. Witnesses, including a passenger in the car, contradicted his statement and said that he appeared to lose consciousness and veered into the building. A subsequent inspection of the vehicle determined that there was no vehicle malfunction. The impact speed was approximately 25 miles per hour.

In early 2005, Errant Delivery Co.'s counsel contacted plaintiffs' counsel to say that Errant Delivery Co. acknowledged responsibility for the incident but that it was too early to put a value on the case. Errant Delivery Co. wanted to make a pre-resolution partial Settlement payment to provide plaintiffs with the financial resources they would need to get by until the case was resolved. Errant Delivery Co. provided plaintiffs with over $1 Million at that point. This early display of good faith allowed the parties to continue discussions and eventually reach a resolution that provided plaintiffs with sufficient compensation without forcing Errant Delivery Co. into bankruptcy. As a result, the plaintiffs were justly compensated and over 1,000 employees at Errant Delivery Co. were able to keep their jobs.

Case Type: Personal Injury / Scooter / Dangerous Road Condition
Case Description: Driver of scooter forced by road condition onto abandoned railway track causing her to fall.
Result: $5 Million Settlement
Summary:

To obtain rights to develop a shopping center in Alameda, the developer agreed to remove abandoned railway tracks running down the middle of the roadway. The developer failed to remove the tracks. On the morning of the incident, a construction zone forced motorists to the middle of the road, on top of the abandoned railway tracks. Following the flow of traffic, when the scooter driver drove on top of the railway tracks her tires became stuck in the tracks causing her to fall and injure her right shoulder.

During the several months following her fall, the scooter driver began to develop burning pain and other symptoms in her right arm. She was ultimately diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), a chronic pain disorder that can cause debilitating, disabling and constant pain.

After extensive discovery and expert depositions (plaintiffs disclosed 10 experts), the case settled on the eve of trial for $5,000,000.

Case Type: Personal Injury / Auto / Pedestrian
Case Description: Pedestrian struck by car pushed onto sidewalk by driver making illegal left turn.
Result: $3 Million Settlement
Summary:

Jane Doe was a pedestrian waiting to cross the street in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. A car, driven by someone unfamiliar with San Francisco, was in the far right lane of a one-way street. The car was the first car at the light. The driver realized that he needed to make a left turn. As the light turned green, the car driver made an illegal left turn in front of the other two lanes to his left. A Jeep, who was headed in the same direction as the car, was timing the lights and going between 25-40 miles per hour. The Jeep driver noticed that there were no cars in the far left lane. He anticipated that the light would turn green just as he crossed the intersection and did not slow down at all for the intersection. As the light turned green, the car turned left from the right lane, directly in front of the Jeep. The Jeep struck the left rear quarter panel of the car, propelling the car sideways and up onto the curb. The car pinned Jane Doe against a streetlight. She sustained severe crush injuries to her legs. One leg was subsequently amputated. The matter settled before trial.

Case Type: Personal Injury / Forklift / Industrial Incident
Case Description: Truck driver run over by forklift operator.
Result: $2.8 Million Settlement
Summary:

Joe Truckdriver was making a delivery to Commercial Plant when a forklift crushed his leg. Commercial Plant employee, Forklift Operator, was driving the forklift. Joe Truckdriver, a life-long driver employed by Trucking Company, was at Commercial Plant to pick up a load of material. When the incident occurred, the forklift was loading Joe Truckdriver's truck. Joe Truckdriver testified that Forklift Operator had stopped loading the truck and stopped the forklift. Joe walked over to Forklift Operator, who was sitting in the forklift and the two had a conversation about loading procedures. At the end of the conversation, Joe turned to walk away and took a few steps. Forklift Operator started the forklift before Joe had cleared the turning radius of the forklift. As Forklift Operator accelerated, the rear left wheel of the forklift caught Joe's right foot and lower leg. Defendant contended that Joe had approached the forklift from behind while it was operating.

Truckdriver suffered a severely broken ankle and serious damage to the lower part of his leg. During the next year, Joe underwent treatment, including multiple reconstructive surgeries and multiple skin grafts. He suffered recurrent infections and continuous pain from his injury. His doctor determined that it was necessary to perform a below-the-knee amputation. A year after the incident, doctors amputated Joe's lower right leg. Joe was off work for approximately nine months. Truckdriver was unable to return to truck driving but was rehired by his employer as a dispatcher. The matter settled before trial.

Case Type: Personal Injury / Public Transit
Case Description: Woman knocked down on bus gets infection, loses leg.
Result: $2.75 Million Settlement
Summary:

Paula Programmer boarded her regular AC Transit bus to get home from work. As Programmer was holding onto a handrail for support and stepping up to a seat, the bus driver drove away from the bus stop. Programmer, whose left ankle was crushed in a 1989 car incident, had a fused left ankle and wore a rocker-bottom shoe, making her mobility limitations obvious although she did not use a disabled bus pass. Despite bracing herself with the handrail, the sudden movement threw Programmer to the floor, tearing her skin on the outside of her left ankle. The wound caused a reoccurrence of a bone infection called osteomelytisis, and intense neuropathy. Programmer's orthopedic surgeon determined that a below-the-knee amputation was the only solution for her intense pain. The matter settled before trial.

Case Type: Personal Injury / Construction Site Incident
Case Description: Plumber injured by concrete pumping hose.
Result: $2.1 Million Judgment after Jury Verdict
Summary:

Joe Plumber was working as a plumber at a commercial construction project. As he neared a concrete pumping hose, he heard a loud popping sound. The pump's hose uncoupled and swung without restraint. As it swung, the hose, filled with pressurized concrete, whipped into Plumber's left knee and up into his left upper thigh and groin. The impact knocked him off his feet onto a metal deck, twisting his right knee. The damage from the incident has prevented Plumber from returning to his job as a plumber. Defendants contended Plumber's right knee was not injured in the incident. They also contended Plumber had degenerative conditions in his right knee from a prior right knee work injury. The jury unanimously found the defendants' negligence caused Plumber's career-ending knee injury.

Case Type: Personal Injury / Auto / Auto
Case Description: Car t-boned by red-light runner.
Result: $2.15 Million Settlement
Summary:

Mr. Z and Mr. H, registered domestic partners, were driving through an intersection in San Diego one morning on their way to work. At the same time, a 19 year-old employee of a heating and air conditioning company was driving his large work van while high on methadone and marijuana. The employee blew through a red light and struck Mr. Z’s car broadside at 50 miles per hour, critically injuring Mr. Z and seriously injuring Mr. H. Mr. Z remained in a coma for months and suffered permanent brain injuries as well as serious orthopedic injuries.

Upon learning of the incident and their legal responsibility for their employee’s conduct, the company that employed the impaired driver filed for bankruptcy to protect their assets so they wouldn’t be available to compensate the two victims for their injuries. Emison Hullverson resolved the case for our clients for the full value of the available insurance of $2,015,000 and Mr. Z now has the ability to pay for the care he will need in the future.

Case Type: Personal Injury / Trucking Incident / Pedestrian
Case Description: Pedestrian run over and killed by truck making right turn.
Result: $1.75 Million Settlement
Summary:

Michael Hoffman, husband and father of two young children, was crossing the street in San Francisco. A Feely Trucking Company big rig made a right turn and struck and crushed Hoffman. The truck cab crossed in front of Hoffman, cutting him off in the crosswalk. The trailer struck Hoffman, knocked him to the ground, and crushed him with the rear right tires. Hoffman died from the severe crush injuries two hours after the incident. The matter settled before trial.

Case Type: Personal Injury / Construction Site Incident
Case Description: Mechanic injured by load swung by excavator.
Result: $1.6 Million Settlement
Summary:

John Smith, a 44-year-old diesel mechanic employed by Equipment Rental Co., was injured at a Road Construction Co.'s work site. Smith was walking by the boom of an Equipment Rental Co. excavator, which had a known history of tracking problems. He was guiding the excavator from one point to another. Attached to the boom of the excavator was a 7,000-pound power pack and shaker. The excavator, driven by a Road Construction Co. employee, mis-tracked, causing the load to swing toward John Smith. Smith put his arm out to stop the load as he saw it coming towards him. The force of the load knocked Smith to the ground. John Smith got up, finished his shift, and reported the incident to his supervisor the next day. John Smith continued to work for the following two months, until numbness and weakness in his hand prevented him from being able to continue working. Smith contended that the Road Construction Co. employee operating the excavator was a substantial cause of the incident and that they were aware that the excavator was not suited for its intended use. Mr. Smith suffered injuries to his right arm, shoulder, and neck because of the impact. He received extensive treatment, including three cervical surgeries. His treating doctors determined he was not able to return to his customary occupation. The matter settled before trial.

Case Type: Personal Injury / Auto / Motorcycle
Case Description: Motorcyclist sideswiped by driver.
Result: $1.5 Million Settlement
Summary:

Jane Doe was a pedestrian waiting to cross the street in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. A car, driven by someone unfamiliar with San Francisco, was in the far right lane of a one-way street. The car was the first car at the light. The driver realized that he needed to make a left turn. As the light turned green, the car driver made an illegal left turn in front of the other two lanes to his left. A Jeep, who was headed in the same direction as the car, was timing the lights and going between 25-40 miles per hour. The Jeep driver noticed that there were no cars in the far left lane. He anticipated that the light would turn green just as he crossed the intersection and did not slow down at all for the intersection. As the light turned green, the car turned left from the right lane, directly in front of the Jeep. The Jeep struck the left rear quarter panel of the car, propelling the car sideways and up onto the curb. The car pinned Jane Doe against a streetlight. She sustained severe crush injuries to her legs. One leg was subsequently amputated. The matter settled before trial.

Case Type: Personal Injury / Auto / Pedestrian
Case Description: Pedestrian struck by right turning driver.
Result: $1.2 Million Settlement
Summary:

Sarah Student, 28 years old, was walking her regular route to take MUNI home from San Francisco State University where she was a junior. After waiting for the pedestrian signal permitting her to walk, Student began to cross the busy intersection on the outer edge of a group of other pedestrians. Nina Nanny, driving a late-model Volvo, failed to stop at the light. The Volvo struck Student on the left side of her body throwing Student onto the hood of the car, which she dented with her body. Student then fell to the ground striking her head on the pavement. Nanny, who was driving her employer's car with permission, was late to her class at San Francisco State University where she had an exam. Although Nanny saw that the light at the intersection was yellow, she tried to make in through to avoid waiting for a red light.

Student suffered a C5-6 herniation causing chronic pain in her neck radiating into her right shoulder, requiring an anterior cervical disk fusion. Student also suffered a mild traumatic brain injury which caused significant cognitive deficits including diminishment in Student's short-term memory, concentration, and mental stamina. Student met the criteria for mild traumatic brain injury even without a definite loss of conscious due to her period of posttraumatic amnesia followed by confusion, and cognitive, emotional, and physical symptoms which persisted beyond one-year post incident. While Student may benefit from learning compensation strategies, she will not improve organically to recover her pre-incident status. The matter settled before trial.

Case Type: Personal Injury / Auto / Auto
Case Description: Driver makes left turn into oncoming traffic.
Result: $1.13 Million Settlement
Summary:

On December 23, 2007, Mrs. K. was driving her car when a vehicle travelling the opposite direction made an illegal left turn directly into Mrs. K’s path. The collision was severe. Despite wearing her seatbelt and the deployment of the car’s airbags, Mrs. K suffered a fractured sternum, three displaced rib fractures, and a comminuted fracture of her heel requiring surgery. Mrs. K spent over a month in the hospital and two months in an assisted living facility and incurred over $225,000 in medical bills. She also lost roughly $70,000 in earnings as a result of her injuries.

The driver of the car that hit Mrs. K carried only the mandatory state minimum $15,000 auto liability insurance policy. Upon initial investigation, it appeared that the defendant driver had no significant assets from which to compensate Mrs. K. Not willing to sell Mrs. K’s case short, Emison Hullverson dug deeper and discovered that although the defendant owned no property in her name and had no other assets that would appear on a standard asset search, she nonetheless had substantial resources in a trust fund which could be used to satisfy a judgment. Working collaboratively and creatively with the defendant’s auto insurance company, the defendant’s private attorney, and Mrs. K’s own auto insurance company, Emison Hullverson successfully and promptly resolved Mrs. K’s claims for a total $1,025,000 without the necessity of litigation.

Case Type: Personal Injury / Premises Liability
Case Description: Man fell down elevator shaft.
Result: $1 Million Settlement
Summary:

Mr. G was a 47 year-old man living in an apartment building in San Francisco. The building contained an ancient elevator installed in 1922 and which was in constant disrepair. Mr. G had been a tenant since 2004 and had become trapped in that elevator over a dozen times before. On each of those occasions, Mr. G would either call on his cell phone for the resident building manager, or in the event he did not have his cell phone with him, he would be forced to shout out in hopes another tenant or passerby would hear his plea and summon help, as the elevator had no telephone or emergency call button. Sometimes the Fire Department would respond to free trapped tenants like Mr. G, and other times the building manager would summon a repairman. In most cases, the Fire Department or repairman would arrive within a half hour and free the trapped rider.

One tragic day, however, when Mr. G was again stuck in the elevator between floors, the property manager told him that it would be a while before the repair man could come and that if Mr. G wanted to get out immediately, there was a way he could get out by himself. The property manager then instructed Mr. G on how to unlock the elevator doors and crawl out of the elevator car to the landing below. Mr. G followed the manager’s instructions, unlocked the doors and attempted to climb out of the elevator. As he reached down with his feet in an attempt to reach the landing below him, rather than Mr. G’s feet landing on the floor below, they swung under the elevator car and into the void of the elevator shaft. Mr. G fell over 40 feet to the bottom of the shaft, breaking nearly every bone in his body and suffering near fatal injuries.

Emison Hullverson investigated the case and discovered that the elevator had a long history of disrepair of which the owner of the building was well aware, but for cost reasons, chose not to fix. Additionally, we discovered that the elevator maintenance company the building owner hired to inspect and maintain the elevator failed in their duty to regularly inspect and make needed repairs necessary to make the elevator safe. Despite significant challenges in the case, we were able to secure a Settlement for Mr. G in the amount of $1,000,000.

Case Type: Personal Injury / Premises liability
Case Description: Golf cart fell capsized over side of wooden bridge.
Result: $1 Million Settlement
Summary:

Marie H, a 71 year old grandmother was playing golf with her husband at a local golf course when she drove her golf cart across a wooden bridge spanning a creek on one of the holes. Unknown to Marie, the bridge was defectively designed and poorly maintained, and as she crossed the bridge her cart flipped over into the creek five feet below, bringing her with it and pinning and crushing her leg between the cart and the creek bed.

Marie needed multiple surgeries and the implantation of metal rods and screws to repair her crushed leg. She suffered severe complications after surgery including infections and bedsores from her inability to walk. She spent months in and out of the hospital and her injuries were truly life altering.

The golf course’s insurance company denied liability for the dangerously constructed and maintained bridge, and instead blamed Marie. Emison Hullverson retained engineering and human factors experts to show that bridge was improperly designed, carelessly maintained, and that important safety barriers had been removed. As a result, the case resolved at mediation for $1,000,000.

Case Type: Personal Injury / Elder Abuse
Case Description: Custodial caregiver injured elderly man.
Result: $1 Million Settlement
Summary:

Martin B, a retired trusts and estates attorney, was a 75 year-old widower recovering from recent knee replacement surgery. To help him recover at home, Mr. B contracted with a Home Health Care company to provide him with a live-in personal care attendant. But rather than sending a qualified and caring attendant to assist Mr. B with his activities of daily living, and despite their promises that they performed extensive background screening of all their employees, the company sent a woman who was a multiply convicted felon, crack cocaine addict, alcoholic, thief, batterer, and con artist.

Once inside Mr. B’s home, the “caregiver” failed to perform her duties and instead drank Mr. B’s alcohol, stole his narcotic pain medication and even stole his gold wedding band. On her 4th day on the job, and after drinking at least three beers before 9:00 a.m., the “caregiver” sat by, intoxicated and belligerent, while Mr. B tried to walk from his living room to his bedroom. Without a caregiver to assist him, Mr. B lost his balance and fell, and completely ruptured the quadriceps tendon in the leg that had just had a total knee replacement. The police and paramedics were called, Mr. B was taken to the hospital for surgery, and the caregiver admitted her drinking to the police at the scene.

As a result of serious complications from the surgery and casting of his leg, Mr. B suffered a series of infections requiring the total removal of his recent knee replacement hardware, followed by yet another surgery months later to implant a new infection resistant knee replacement. Mr. B was confined to a hospital bed and was not able to return to his home for over 16 months, and only then in a wheelchair.

Emison Hullverson attorneys brought suit against the employer of the “caregiver” for negligent hiring and for violation of their promise to perform a thorough background check. As a result of our investigation and our efforts, we were able to resolve the case for the defendant’s policy limits of $1,000,000 which provided Mr. B the ability to hire competent and skilled nurses to care for him the remainder of his days.

Case Type: Personal Injury / Auto / Motorcycle
Case Description: Drunk driver made left turn into oncoming motorcyclist.
Result: $972,267 Judgment after Jury Verdict
Summary:

In November 2007, Keith C. and his fiancée, Nicole M., were riding together on Keith’s motorcycle in Sonoma County when a drunk driver travelling the opposite direction made an illegal left turn directly into their path. The drunk driver had a BAC of 0.26% over three times the legal limit, and was on probation from a prior DUI conviction.

Keith suffered a compound femur fracture and a broken hand. The femur fracture required surgery to install a titanium rod and screws in his leg and Keith incurred over $150,000 in medical bills. Nicole’s injuries were fortunately less severe.

Emison Hullverson successfully settled Nicole’s case for $50,000, the full policy limits of the drunk driver’s car insurance. The insurer, Mercury Insurance Company, unreasonably refused to pay the $50,000 policy limit to settle Keith’s case, resulting in the need for a jury trial. Emison Hullverson tried the case to a Sonoma County jury in April 2010. Based on the jury’s verdict, the Court entered a judgment in the amount $972,267 which included full compensation for Keith’s past and future medical bills, disability, and associated physical pain and emotional suffering.

Case Type: Personal Injury / Auto
Case Description: Pick-up loses tire, tire then smashes into oncoming car injuring driver.
Result: $875,000 Settlement
Summary:

Jane Doe, a woman in her early thirties, was driving on a rural highway. A pick-up was coming from the other direction. The pick-up driver had changed his tire shortly before the incident. The pick-up’s tire came off, continued rolling along the highway, and smashed into the front of Doe’s car. Doe momentarily lost consciousness. She declined medical assistance at the scene and returned to work the next day. After a couple days, she went to the doctor, complaining of headaches. Her co-workers noticed she had difficulty focusing. She was taken off work. She was ultimately diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Case Type: Personal Injury / Auto
Case Description: Car drives into storefront, pinning store employee against counter.
Result: $750,000 Settlement
Summary:

An elderly driver was pulling into a parking space in front of a store. The driver mistook the gas pedal for the brake pedal. The driver’s car accelerated into the store. Jane Doe, a woman in her early twenties, was working behind the counter in the store. Doe was crushed between the two counters. Doe sustained lower leg fractures. The case settled before trial.

Case Type: Personal Injury / Premises liability
Case Description: Employee closed gate on customer's head.
Result: $691,941 Judgment after Jury Verdict, reduced by Plaintiff's 40% comparative fault to $415,164. The case resolved shortly after trial for the judgment plus prevailing party costs.
Summary:

Jane Doe, 33 years old, was an avid snowboarder. She had a season pass at Northstar. On one of her visits, she finished snowboarding for the day before her friend. She was cold and sat down inside the lodge on a heater vent. The vent was in front of a Northstar retail counter in a location where the Northstar employee could not see Doe. Shortly after she sat down, the Northstar employee closed the small retail shop. This included closing a manual overhead security gate. He closed the gate from behind the retail counter and did not notice Doe. The gate struck Doe on top of her head. Ski patrol responded and Doe declined medical treatment. She drove herself back home the next day.

Doe returned to work two days later. She had difficulty performing her work and was told to return when she was medically capable of doing so. She was treated by a primary care doctor who noted a bruise on her head and neck tenderness. Doe was placed in a neck brace. Three months later when she removed the neck brace, she started developing other problems. These included visual disturbances, light sensitivity, headaches, right-sided numbness, dizziness and exhaustion. Her doctors determined she did not have a traumatic brain injury. A majority of her doctors recommended a psychiatric consult. Doe felt her injuries were physical and declined seeking any psychiatric or psychological care. Doe remained off work for two years after the incident. She then started working as an outpatient physical therapist three days a week.

The case went to trial in Placer County, where Northstar is located.

Case Type: Personal Injury / Dog Attack
Case Description: Pedestrian attacked by two pit-bulls in public.
Result: $535,000 Judgment after Jury Verdict
Summary:

A 37 year old woman, Susan H., was walking down a public sidewalk in San Francisco when she was attacked and bitten in the face by two pit bulls that had been left unattended by their owner. The dogs had been previously declared “vicious and dangerous” by San Francisco Animal Care and Control, but had been returned to the owners based on their promise to muzzle and leash their dogs at all times. Despite their promises, the owners ignored their responsibilities and Susan H. was viciously attacked and seriously injured as a result.

Susan H. suffered severe facial lacerations, and related nerve and muscle damage. She underwent extensive emergency plastic surgery, incurred significant medical bills, and was left with permanent facial scarring and inability to feel her bottom lip.

The defendant’s insurance company repeatedly refused reasonable offers to settle the case and never offered more than $35,000. Because this amount was nowhere near the reasonable value of Susan’s claim, Emison Hullverson tried Susan’s case to a San Francisco jury. The jury returned a verdict for $518,988, which included full compensation for Susan’s past and future medical bills, facial disfigurement, and associated physical pain and emotional suffering. With court costs and interest added, the total judgment for Susan H. amounted to over $535,000.

Click Here to see the Channel 2 News Report of the jury's verdict.

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