Because the results obtained in specific cases depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, past case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in future cases undertaken by a lawyer or law firm.
An 80-car, 10,000-ton CSX coal train en route to Washington, DC lost braking control while descending a seventeen mile grade. Due to excessive speed, the train lost its brakes and reached a curve at nearly 60 mph and derailed. Several fully-loaded, 100-ton coal cars smashed into a house, killing a 15 year old boy asleep on the couch and injuring several others. The plaintiff successfully argued that CSX should have set the track speed limit lower (as it did the day after the crash); that they lacked a corporate policy for checking dynamic brakes and that the engineer was poorly trained. The case was filed in West Virginia to pursue maximum benefits to the injured, as the state of Maryland caps recovery at $2 million. The case settled for $4.577 million.
A research scientist and his wife were driving towards Harper’s Ferry when they were struck from behind by a man driving a truck hauling a trailer. The scientist sustained a serious brain injury in the collision, suffered memory loss, poor executive function and could no longer work. The defendant claimed that the scientist was faking and offered just $200,000 as compensation, which we declined. At trial, partner Steve Frei entered into evidence a PET CT scan showing objective evidence of the victim’s organic brain injury. The jury deliberated two hours before returning a verdict for $1.5 million.
A man riding a motorcycle was hit by a car which fled the scene of the accident; the victim suffered a fractured pelvis, mild brain injury and no recollection of the accident. A favorable settlement of $1.5 million was reached through the victim's uninsured motorist's coverage.
While sitting in traffic on I-95, the plaintiff was struck from behind by a pickup truck and died. The driver was on her way to a job site of the defendant company. While the driver's liability was apparent, the employer denied that she was acting as an employee at the time of the collision. It was the company's defense that all employees had been transferred to another company; the driver was unaware of her 'transfer.' The case generated a request by the insurance carrier for a declaratory judgment in Stafford asking the court to determine whether the driver was an employee at the time. Partner Gary Mims successfully argued a lack of subject matter jurisdiction as there was no justicable controversy. The Stafford judge agreed and dismissed the motion. The case then settled for the plaintiff for the insurance policy limits.
A dump truck carrying 15 tons of asphalt, going 55 mph, ran a red light at Rte. 28 and Westfields Blvd. The truck struck a Ford Explorer that was attempting a left-hand turn and the driver was killed. Sickels, Frei and Mims filed a wrongful death suit against the driver and her employer. The case was complicated by witness accounts that the decedent was turning against a red light as well. Sickels, Frei and Mims successfully argued that the truck driver's conduct was "willful and wanton" which negated any negligence of the plaintiff. The case settled 2 weeks before trial.
A 50-year male was sitting on his Harley Davidson motorcycle when struck from behind by the defendant, driving a car owned by a car dealership after hours. The defendant had a BAC of .18. The defense admitted negligence but argued that the BAC was not a proximate cause of the accident. The defense also argued that the plaintiff's injuries were pre-existing. Partner Gary Mims successfully established that the accident was caused by the defendant's intoxication and caused the plaintiff's injuries to become symptomatic. The jury awarded $1.7 million.
Plaintiff was a crossing guard at a local high school when he was struck by an SUV. Although liability was clear, the essential issue in the case was how to distinguish plaintiff’s physical condition post-collision from his pre-existing condition. Plaintiff had been treated for multiple physical injuries prior to the collision as a result of neurological damage he sustained from an electrical accident. Sickels, Frei and Mims was able to successfully convince the defense that there was exacerbation to plaintiff’s condition as a result of the collision. Case settled for $400K.
Sickels, Frei and Mims tried to help this client avoid legal costs, but the client’s insurance company refused to negotiate in good faith in this case of clear liability and extensive injuries. A woman was driving on a single-lane road when a drunk driver crossed the double yellow line and struck her head on. The woman sustained numerous, serious injuries requiring surgery and other treatment. Partner Gary Mims advised the woman that she should be able to settle with her own insurance company, without a lawyer, and that he would help her through the process without charging her a fee. However, her insurance company refused to make an offer, leaving her no choice but to retain us to file suit. Shortly before trial, after we identified as witnesses her seven treating doctors, the insurance company finally offered $475,000 (of her $500,00 policy.)