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Ellis Law Wins $2.4M Jury Verdict Following Three-Year Legal Battle

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Ellis Law is pleased to announce our recent victory and a multi-million dollar jury verdict in a serious auto accident case. Our clients came to us after a heavy rear-impact collision on the 10 freeway at Yucaipa Boulevard in Redlands, which pushed the vehicle into the center divider, causing the airbags to deploy forcefully. The impacting vehicle was driven by a man working for the County of San Bernardino District Attorney’s office.

The accident left the husband with soft tissue injuries amounting to $10,000 in medical bills. The wife was initially treated for soft tissue injuries, but soon developed intercostal neuralgia – a severe pain in the abdomen – as well as neck and lower back injuries. She saw a pain management specialist for many months and underwent a number of nerve blocks and ablations to manage her condition.

The Battle

The defendants enlisted the help of a neurologist and a billing expert to dispute the medical expenses. Meanwhile, we brought in the couple’s medical team, which included their family practitioner, psychologist, pain management specialist, and orthopedic expert. We also tapped the expertise of a well-known accident reconstructionist and bio-mechanic and our own billing expert. We brought in the plaintiffs’ coworkers and children to enhance the emotional appeal of the toll these injuries have taken on the friends and loved ones they knew so well.

Our cross-examination of the defense counsel’s neurologist revealed that he was unprepared for trial. He not only was missing records and foggy on the details of the case, but he held the outrageous position that eight different doctors had missed a “preexisting condition” of herpes Zoster – which he blamed for the wife’s injuries. We simply referred to the National Institutes of Health standards for diagnosing viruses to crumble his entire theory.

It also helped that we were familiar in dealing with their so-called billing “expert”, who believes in the “Medicare + 130%” formula for calculating “reasonable” medical expenses, which is just not in line with reality. We pointed to records showing that Ventura County was charging Medicare + 154%. Beyond that, we made the case that our plaintiffs were not Medicare eligible, so the numbers had no bearing in this case. The defense also tried to tap their billing expert as a secondary “doctor”, but it became immediately evident that his expertise did not extend beyond billing.

Over the years, we have learned that conducting a series of interviews with our clients prior to trial is the best way to find the true, down-to-earth, core story that they have to tell. Our doctors – some of which had never testified on the stand before — performed very convincingly in court. It helps to have consummate professionals backed with MRIs and other documents who can enhance the credibility of your legal arguments. Our reconstruction expert brought his own fantastic exhibits.

It wasn’t always easy coordinating everyone’s schedules, particularly around the holiday season, but Paralegal Brenda Dranow, who has been with the firm for over 20 years now, was instrumental in making sure everybody got to the courthouse and was prepared.

The Result

The County of San Bernardino initially offered $120,000 to settle the case. In the final days before trial, they raised their offer to $375,000. We sought $965,000 in our lawsuit filing, but lowered the amount to $550,000, at the clients’ request. The discrepancy was enough to take us right to the trial. We weren’t backing down!

Judge Michael Sachs, a veteran of  the San Bernardino County court system for 20 years, has a reputation as a very fair-minded judge. The County of San Bernardino was ordered to pay our clients an extraordinary sum of $2.4 million.

“This was a hard-fought victory for our team,” reflects Andy Ellis. “Winning is not just about the black-and-white facts of a case, but about bringing out the powerful stories that people have to tell.”

He went on to praise his co-counsel. “Britt Karp is a rising star for the firm who went the extra mile in preparing the case,” he added. “She spent a lot of time with the clients to get the honest, emotional story that ultimately convinced the jury. I am certain we’ll soon see many more victories from Britt in her role as first chair.”

Let’s keep fighting for justice. Contact the Ellis Law Firm for a free case evaluation. You don’t pay a cent unless we win your case.