fb pixel code Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Oakland Personal Injury Lawyer / Blog / Personal Injury / Plaintiff Wins $8.9M in Drunk Driving Accident Lawsuit

Plaintiff Wins $8.9M in Drunk Driving Accident Lawsuit


A California plaintiff recently secured an $8.9 million verdict against the defendant and his insurer after the defendant caused a head-on collision that resulted in significant injury. According to the lawsuit, the defendant was intoxicated at the time that he struck the plaintiff. The defendant pleaded guilty to a felony-level DWI. However, his insurer disputed that he was drunk at the time of the accident. Instead, they argued that the defendant ran over a puddle causing him to lose control of the vehicle, and that the plaintiff had a beer with his dinner lowering his reaction time.

Ultimately, following 8 days of testimony, the trial judge issued a directed verdict in favor of the plaintiff finding that the plaintiff had established his claims of negligence against the defendant.

The judge ruled that the plaintiff had established that he was driving slightly below the speed limit when the accident occurred. The judge also found that the puddle did not have much to do with the cause of the accident while the defendant’s intoxication played a significant role in causing the accident.

That left the jury to determine damages. The jury awarded the plaintiff $8.9 million for his injuries. The jury also determined that the plaintiff was eligible to collect punitive damages from the defendant because he was drunk at the time of the accident. The plaintiff claimed that he suffered serious neck and spine injuries as well as a traumatic brain injury.

The insurer rejected settlement offers from the plaintiff

According to the plaintiff’s attorney, the insurer rejected an offer to settle the case for $5.5 million. Because they rejected this settlement offer, the attorney can collect attorney’s fees from the defendant.

The insurance company claimed that their policyholder disappeared after the accident and was thus not available to aid them in the defense. The insurer believed that they could beat any verdict issued in the case due to the lack of assistance from their policyholder. However, that did not turn out to be the case.

What happens when the matter of negligence is settled?

When an insurance company defends a policyholder who is clearly at fault for an accident, they often move to dispute damages. To do this, they dispute the extent and severity of the plaintiff’s injuries. This is what the insurer did in the case mentioned above. They claimed that the plaintiff did not report his traumatic brain injury until months after the accident occurred and accused him of exaggerating his claims to beef up his settlement award. They alleged that the treating physicians were referred by his lawyers. The jury ended up awarding the plaintiff nearly $9 million in damages with the potential for that number to get even higher if he is awarded punitive damages.

Talk to an Oakland Car Accident Lawyer Today

Venardi Zurada represents the interests of Oakland residents who have been injured in car accidents. We can help handle your claim from start to finish taking the stress of the settlement off your back. Call our Oakland personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.



Facebook Twitter LinkedIn