VERDICTS AND SETTLEMENTS
Throughout their careers Scott and John of Gibson Steigauf have achieved record setting verdicts and settlements including:
31 year-old Carpenter was working on a third-story new building when a safety barricade collapsed causing him to fall 30 feet onto the ground. Another contractor previously removed the barricade but failed to properly and safely reinstall it. Our client suffered massive internal injuries including a torn aorta, broken bones and required 11 surgeries.
Result: $6,900,000.00 DuPage Record Verdict/Settlement
A 15 year-old part time worker assisting in cleaning semi tractor trailers is splashed with “Aluminum Clean ‘N Bright” industrial cleanser. Plaintiff followed the instructions provided on container regarding incidental exposure but a subsequent emergency room exam found a significant deep tissue hydrochloric acid burn, the treatment of which eventually required 13 skin graft operations. The warnings on the container were inadequate and a special warning was necessary because hydrochloric acid causes significant tissue injuries before the injury becomes symptomatic. Result: $1,850,000; Illinois State Record Settlement and waiver of $250,000 Workers Compensation lien.
58-year-old lady car was rear-ended by a semi-tractor trailer truck at a red light. She had previously suffered five previous auto and work injuries causing back and neck injuries. A mid-back compression fracture in this crash healed within 4 months but her neck and back continue to be aggravated by symptoms from the crash. The jury verdict was a record for an unoperated aggravated spine injury. Result: $517,000; Illinois State Record Spine Jury Verdict.
46-year–old environmental executive and mother of three was hit head – on at 40 m.p.h. in Libertyville. The Defendant was a young driver who abruptly attempted a left hand turn directly in front of the Plaintiff. The ligaments in our client’s cervical (neck) spine were torn causing spinal instability and the need for a 3-level surgical fusion. The Plaintiff returned to work but is permanently restricted from participating in her life-long love of outdoor activities including motorcycle, dirt bike and mountain bike riding.
Result: $1,250,000 (policy limit) settlement.
57-year-old man was driving his motorcycle on a through street when the defendant drove his truck from an intersecting side street and pulled out in front of the Plaintiff. The defendant had stopped at the stop sign but claimed that he did not see the Plaintiff. The plaintiff suffered a right leg “through knee” amputation. Plaintiff was a retired engineer who worked as an independent consultant and has been able to return to his work. Result: $5,750,000 settlement before trial.
A union carpenter’s apprentice fell while working with joists being hoisted at a construction site. Injuries included a fractured wrist and elbow ending Plaintiff’s employment as a carpenter. Result: $900,000 settlement and waiver of $340,000 workers compensation lien.
A 19 year-old young man was staying with a friend in New Hampshire looking for a job. For fun, our client and another friend who did not live in the apartment decided to play a plastic pistol soft-pellet shooting game where they hid in the apartment and tried to score a “hit” by shooting the other player with soft rubber pellets. The play-guns were designed to look just like real semi-automatic pistols. Unbeknownst to our client, the friend had stored a real 9 mm automatic in the apartment to hide it from his parents with whom he lived. When our client was in the bathroom the friend took out the real gun and aimed it at the bathroom door to scare our client when he came out. As our client was washing his hands in the bathroom the friend mistakenly fired the gun, shooting a bullet through the door striking our client in the abdomen. Our client was rushed into life-saving emergency surgery. The bullet will remain permanently in his body and he has permanent nerve damage to the main nerve controlling his left leg. The friend’s parents homeowners policy paid its limit as the friend was a family resident covered under the liability portion of the homeowner’s policy. Result: $500,000 (homeowner policy limit) settlement.
A truck driver was rear-ended while stopped at a red light. The impact caused soft tissue injuries to neck and back and aggravated pre-existing knee arthritis preventing Plaintiff from continuing to work as a truck driver. Result: $1,500.000 settlement.
A severely mentally handicapped adult was transferred to a nursing home to begin her recovery from hip surgery. Her physician requested that the staff at the nursing home monitor her closely for indications of blood clots. Five days later she was found dead having suffocated from a clot in her lung. Result: $850,000 settlement.
A 5-year-old girl visited a large theme park with her mother and other children when she was inappropriately touched by a theme park employee who was securing her into a child’s ride. Shortly before trial the theme park agreed to pay a settlement. Result: $1,400,000 settlement.
22-year-old lady was driving her boyfriend’s motorcycle when the Defendant attempted to pass through a construction “no passing zone.” The collision resulted in a severe left ankle injury requiring fusion surgery. The case settled for the policy limits including a $1 million umbrella underinsured motorist payment from her own company plus $50,000 policy limit payment from the Defendant’s insurance company. Gibson Steigauf filed a companion Declaratory Judgment insurance case which resulted in Summary Judgment for the Plaintiff finding that the original insurance broker for the Plaintiff’s family failed to include the requested $1 million underinsured motorist umbrella coverage. Result: $1,005,000 (policy limit) settlement.
31-year-old father of two and one-half month old twins was riding his motorcycle in Libertyville, Illinois when he entered an intersection on a yellow light. The Defendant was waiting to turn left in front of him and claimed he did not see the motorcycle when he started to make his turn. Witnesses confirmed that the Plaintiff motorcyclist attempted to swerve but could not avoid the collision resulting in instant death. 4 minor children survive him. Result: $1,250,000 (policy limit) settlement.
46-year-old man was brought into an emergency room after being the victim of a beating. Physicians at the emergency room failed to timely diagnose a depressed skull fracture. As a result of the delay in diagnosis the Plaintiff developed a brain bleed leading to permanent neurological damage. Result: $2,050,000 settlement.
A union carpenter suffered a fractured right femur when a wall collapsed at a construction site. He required surgery to insert a titanium rod. Result: $825,000 settlement and waiver of $301,000 workers compensation lien.
38-year-old business executive was visiting her neighbors in their backyard. She bent down to pet the neighbor’s dog which lunged up and bit her in the face. She suffered a severe bite to her mouth and face requiring surgery and resulted in permanent scarring. Afterwards the defendant admitted that the dog had previously bitten two other people. Result: $300,000 (policy limit) settlement.
A married, 72 year-old retired father of 3, who was a lay Christian minister, died in the emergency room from undiagnosed blood clots (Pulmonary Embolism caused by clots in his left leg). He went to his long-time family doctor three days prior; complaining of shortness of breath, chest pain and his vital signs were abnormal. The doctor misdiagnosed him with asthma and prescribed an inhaler. The same doctor had treated this patient and hospitalized him twice before due to blood clots in his left leg but failed to comply with the required medical care in prescribing him lifetime blood thinners and then not correctly diagnosing him three days before his death. The doctor and his insurance company agreed to pay his medical malpractice insurance policy limit before trial. Result: $1,000,000 (policy limit) settlement.
Plaintiff’s hand was crushed while operating a machine. His third, fourth and fifth fingers were partially amputated and his forearm was lacerated which required surgical closing. The steel fabrication machine lacked safety gates and a “dead man’s” switch component. The machine had “key lockout switches” but they were not used. Result: $800,000 settlement before trial and waiver of one half of the $140,000 workers compensation lien.
Plaintiff was an army Master Sergeant who was crossing the street at the Fort Sheridan Army base Fourth of July fireworks celebration when a Lieutenant Colonel “jumped line” and hit the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff had neck and back symptoms but incurred only $7,800 in medical expenses. There was evidence that the Defendant lieutenant colonel was impaired from drinking alcohol although he was never charged with DUI. Result: $215,000 jury verdict.
A 48-year-old registered hospice nurse was riding his motorcycle in Waukegan when the Defendant drove her SUV from an adjacent store’s parking lot and blocked the lane. The Plaintiff had to swerve around the Defendant’s vehicle, lost control and suffered injuries that later claimed his life after a two day coma. The plaintiff’s decedent was married with two teenage children. Result: $1,060,000 (policy limit) settlement.
57-year-old truck driver delivered a load of concrete forms on a flat bed truck to a construction site in Evanston. The Defendant general contractor was required to provide two union ironworkers to coordinate the choking, rigging, and unloading of the concrete by communication with a crane operator who was “in the blind.” The Defendant asked the Plaintiff to help unload due to a shortage of ironworkers. Due to a miscommunication the crane operator began lifting the concrete form at the time when the plaintiff standing on the form. Plaintiff suffered fractures to both wrists requiring surgery. Result: $772,500 settlement.
Plaintiff college student was killed when he was a passenger in a car which was struck by an oncoming van that crossed the centerline. There was no conscious pain or suffering and was survived by his divorced parents and sister. Result: $1,075,000 (policy limit) settlement.
71-year-old auto parts delivery truck driver was T-boned in Waukegan by the Defendant who ran a red light. Plaintiff suffered cervical injuries requiring surgery and follow-up surgery for his shoulder and knee. Result: $1,000,000 (policy limit) settlement.
35-year-old mother was driving her SUV when the Defendant and ran a stop light and T-boned her. She suffered chest injuries and severe lacerations to her head and face requiring follow-up corrective surgery. The plaintiff was able to return to her work in a factory. Result: $955,000 settlement.
The baby was born in a Waukegan hospital after questionable fetal heart monitoring results were recorded. The baby suffered initial seizures post-birth but he grew and developed normally. By kindergarten he was not showing any significant impairments. Before trial the defense defended the case and refused to offer any amount of money in settlement. During the trial the defendant paid $1.4 million to resolve the case before verdict. Result: $1,400,000 settlement during trial.
2 1⁄2 year old grandchild grabbed a hot pot of coffee from her grand-parent’s kitchen counter in McHenry County. It shattered causing burns to shoulders and chest requiring skin grafts. Result: $762,500.00 pre-trial settlement.
Defendant drove a truck through a stop sign and broadsided Plaintiff’s vehicle. The Plaintiff suffered a shattered collarbone, lacerations and back injuries. A subsequent MRI showed a cervical disc herniation which did not require surgery. Result: $1 million (policy limit) settlement before trial.
A 44-year-old warehouseman who went to the Waukegan hospital emergency room with chest pain and shortness of breath. Defendant cardiologist admitted him and after completing a cardiac workup including catheterization discharged him the next day to return to work after the weekend. There was no referral to any other specialists or investigation of potential pulmonary embolism. Twenty-four hours after discharge he returned to the emergency room with continuing symptoms resulting in a pulmonologist diagnosing him with pulmonary embolism which caused his death the next day. Result: $1,000,000 (policy limit) settlement.
A 71-year-old man with severe multiple illnesses was admitted into a Chicago hospital for a high risk ruptured aorta surgical repair. Two weeks after the surgery he was found on the floor next to his bed after having been transferred from the ICU to the general hospital room just hours before he was found. The physician orders for restraints due to hallucinations from medicines and inability to follow orders were unilaterally not followed by the nurses on the general floor so that he was not safely kept in his bed. He was found with a head laceration. A delayed CT scan showed subdural hemorrhage and brain shift. He was not a surgical candidate and died two days later. He is survived by one adult son. Result: $800,000 settlement.
Minor plaintiff in Lake Forest was “sketching” with his skateboard while holding onto the back of Defendant’s SUV. Defendant’s speed reached 30 miles an hour causing the Plaintiff to fall off his skateboard suffering a left wrist fracture requiring surgery and a head injury. He completely recovered from his head injury and continued on to pursue an engineering degree in college. Result: $1,100,000 (policy limit) settlement.
A 2-year old baby with severe water burns was taken to the hospital. The physicians who cared for him violated the standard of care in caring for a child this age. He died as a result of the medical malpractice. Result: $1,000,000 settlement before trial.
A traveling book salesman was stopped on a highway in Rockford, Illinois when he was rear-ended by a semi-tractor trailer truck. The Plaintiff had immediate pain to his ankle which resulted in the need for a surgery months later. The plaintiff was unable to return to his work as a traveling book salesman due to the physical requirements of his job. The case settled before trial in the Federal Court in Rockford, Illinois. Result: $1,051,000 settlement (policy limit – Federal Court).
60-year-old printer was working on a custom installed new platform when the attached stair case semi-collapsed. He fell to the concrete floor causing knee and shoulder injuries requiring surgeries. It was disputed as to whether the design, installation or later changes caused the stair supports to not be bolted into the floor. Post – inspection findings caused immediate new installation of bolted stair supports. Result: $800,000 settlement before trial in products liability – Federal Court.
A severely mentally and physically handicapped adult was a state ward in a community based housing facility. He was bedbound and the staff failed to comply with pressure wound care orders causing multiple wounds. Result: $400,000 settlement before trial.
Drunk & high teenager drove across center median in McHenry County crashing head on into our client. Our client suffered a severe ankle fracture requiring surgery. Result: $775,000.00 pre-trial settlement.
Plaintiff had been treated for many years by his family physician who monitored his kidney function. Subsequently his family physician retired and a new doctor took over the practice. In follow-up examinations the new physician informed the Plaintiff that he had significant kidney disease and would require a kidney removal and transplant. The previous physician failed to take timely action in regard to blood test results showing declining kidney function. Result: $750,000 settlement.
86 year-old woman was transferred to a nursing home to rehabilitate after a knee replacement. She suffered from numerous medical conditions including dementia and significant weakness. While being transferred from a wheel chair to bed a Certified Nurses Assistant bumped her knee into an adjacent wall causing her to fall. She suffered a patella tendon tear requiring reconstructive surgery. Result: $400,000 settlement.
A 66 year-old woman was sitting on her outside front steps in Waukegan painting her nails when the next door neighbor’s young children opened their front door to run out to play. There was no fencing and the children let out their Labrador Retriever which ran up our client’s steps and lunged at her. She fell back causing her to fall down the stairs breaking her wrist. Our client underwent a surgical repair with internal placement of hardware to repair the fracture. Result: $300,000 (policy limit) settlement.
A 51 year-old secretary was riding her bike to work in Lake Forest. While crossing an intersection with the right of way that was controlled by a traffic light she was hit by a driver turning left who claimed she did not see her in the cross walk. Our client was knocked to the pavement fracturing her left leg and a pelvic bone. She underwent surgery to repair her left tibia plateau fracture. Result: $375,000 settlement.
A 42 year-old man was riding his jet ski with his brother-in-law on an adjacent jet ski. His brother-in-law tried to cut across in front of our client going causing him to go airborne and landing into our client’s jet ski. Our client suffered a concussion and underwent a fusion surgery for cervical spine neck injury. Result: $500,000 (policy limit) settlement.
A 23 year-old woman was a passenger on a snowmobile. The driver attempted to avoid a tree and turned too fast causing the snowmobile to tip. Our client suffered a broken leg requiring surgical repair. Result: $101,000 (policy limit) settlement.
A 40 year-old woman was walking down a grocery aisle. Unbeknownst to her the cleaning service had done a deep clean waxing of the floors the night before and had failed to place any signs or warnings. She slipped causing a low back injury requiring a fusion spine surgery. Result: $275,000 settlement.
A 58 year-old garbage collector fell off of his truck while climbing up the side to retrieve a garbage can that had fallen into the overhead collection bin. This was a brand new line of custom designed trucks that was having problems with the control arms holding the garbage cans as they were lifted up to be dumped at the top of the truck. The truck design did not include steps or other means for the operator to access the overhead bin as it was not designed to need human access. Our client suffered a broken wrist and injured shoulder. Result: $156,216 settlement.
The 29 year-old wife of an intoxicated driver was riding as a passenger late at night returning from a party when her husband drove into a dead-end street that had been blocked off by the municipality. The jury found that there were inadequate signs to safely inform a driver at night that the street had been closed. Our client suffered a broken leg requiring surgery and non-permanent internal injuries. Result: $296,000 jury verdict.
A woman that was a severe alcoholic was admitted into a Rockford hospital for alcoholic delirium and liver failure. The doctor personally inserted a draw needle into her stomach to secure a lab sample. It was done bedside without the aid of an ultrasound. The patient was later found dead from an internal bleed from the puncture which hit an artery which would have been seen if an ultrasound had been used. Result: $275,000 settlement.
An elderly man was referred to the Cook County ENT for redness on his nose and upper cheeks. The surgeon performed a laser surgery in his office without proper controls and burned our client’s nose. He required a different surgeon to correct the burns. Result: $130,000 settlement.
Our client was a student at University of Illinois who was intoxicated in a campus bar at the end of finals. A couple of verbal conflicts occurred between our client and an Illinois football lineman who out weighed our client by 200 pounds. The lineman left the bar at closing and then returned to confront our client as he was leaving. The bar video showed the lineman doing a one shove move that knocked our client to the floor. The lineman was underage and admitted to receiving free beer and shots from the bar since he was a football player. Our client suffered a skull fracture causing partial hearing loss and a nose fracture. Result: $350,000 (policy limit) settlement.
A mother’s boyfriend took her and her three children out on his boat on Lake Michigan. Two of the children, with flotation devices, went into the water but the boater did not position his boat correctly for the currents. The boys drifted away and the boater could not get his boat close enough to rescue the boys. One of the boys, just 10 years old drowned. Result: $250,000 (policy limit) settlement.
A 35 year-old woman was a passenger in a boat on the Chain of Lakes when it crashed into another boat. Both drivers were intoxicated. Our client suffered a fracture to her pelvis and non-permanent internal injuries. Result: $525,000 settlement.
A 86 year-old woman was walking out of a large discount store in Vernon Hills when the automatic door closed on her knocking her to the floor. There was faulty maintenance by an independent door company and failure to inspect/warn from the store. Our client underwent surgery for a hip replacement. Result: $250,000 settlement.
An 89 year-old woman was going into a grocery store when her foot caught on a curled up rubber floor mat causing her to fall. She suffered a broken pelvis needing surgical repair and made a complete recovery. Result: $245,000 settlement.
A 46 year-old woman was a passenger on her boyfriend’s motorcycle when a commercial garbage truck driving in the adjacent lanes attempted to change lanes without a signal or forewarning. The truck pinned the motorcycle underneath its running board and dragged the plaintiff on the roadway. She suffered road rash and required two operations for a rotator cuff shoulder injury. Result: $540,000 pre-trial settlement.
A 42 year-old saleswoman was stopped on the Chicago Eisenhower expressway when she was rear ended at low speed by a commercial van driver. She underwent a neck surgery for a one level surgical fusion and returned to work. Result: $710,000 settlement.
A 21 year-old college student was admitted into a secure psychiatric floor in defendant’s hospital for severe depression and suicidal ideation. The nurses allowed her to go into a small room with a washer and dryer to clean her own clothes. The room had a wood door with a small window which was directly across the hall from the nurse’s station. While in the room the student used a robe tie to hang herself from the inside door overhead closing mechanism. By the time the nurses noticed that she was in that room she was severely injured and died shortly thereafter. The hospital was negligent in not properly supervising her and in violation of safety codes by failing to have the required specialty “break-off” door hardware in a secure psychiatric floor. She was the youngest child of a large close knit family – Gibson Steigauf successfully filed the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of all of the family members against the hospital which was responsible for the negligence of its staff. Result: Confidential Settlement
A man in his sixties saw his primary care physician for an annual physical. The doctor failed to send the patient for a colonoscopy to investigate the abnormal mass that was discovered in the patient’s rectum during the exam. Instead, the physician informed the patient that the mass was a simple hemorrhoid. The patient’s colorectal cancer went untreated and he later died. Result:$1,000,000 settlement before trial.
54 year-old factory worker was a heavy smoker and died of lung cancer. He was employed for many years by an asbestos factory. Pursuant to Federal Regulations his employer was required to give him a yearly chest x-ray in its on-site clinic. The Radiologist read the x-ray as normal. A year later he began to have lung symptoms and subsequent tests showed he had mortal lung cancer. Our expert was a Medical School Professor and the former National President of the Physician’s Radiological Society who reviewed the prior x-ray which showed that the Defendant Radiologist failed to accurately diagnose an original lung tumor. Gibson Steigauf retained a world renowned cancer specialist who confirmed that but for the delay in diagnosis the man had a reasonable chance of survival. Result: $500,000 settlement before trial
A 74 year-old man was hospitalized for a bleeding stomach ulcer. A nurse found him dead in the middle of the night and an autopsy showed he died from loss of blood due to the ulcer. Gibson Steigauf tried the case against multiple defendants including the specialist who did not properly monitor the stomach ulcer. The specialist agreed to settle the case before verdict. Result: $500,000 jury trial settlement
96 year-old woman with Alzheimer’s was a permanent resident of a Lake County Nursing Home who was completely dependent for all of her needs. While being transferred from her bed to toilet via a wheel-chair the aid did not properly secure her and tipped her out of the chair. Our client suffered body bruising and a crack in her leg bone. Result: $100,000 settlement
80 year-old woman fell and broke her hip requiring surgical repair. She was transferred to a nursing home for physical rehabilitation post-surgery. Pursuant to Doctor’s orders and the nursing home’s own records our client was a high fall risk who also suffered from confusion and memory loss. Shortly after arriving at the nursing home she was found one night by a nurse on the floor of her bedroom in pain. The nursing home failed to properly care for her by failing to place her in a room with a monitor, bed rails, and failed to carry out its own fall risk safety procedures. She suffered disruption to her prior surgery requiring an additional surgery. Result: $390,000 settlement
A 57 year-old, life-long severely handicapped man, lived in a nursing home for emotionally disabled adults. He walked out the back door of the nursing home building one night and was later found drowned in a nearby lake. The nursing home’s door alarm system had not been functioning for awhile and it failed to have it repaired. He was single without children. Result: $160,000 settlement
A 35 year-old purchased an automatic boat winch to lift and lower his large speed boat that was docked at his chain of lakes home. He was called at work by the Lake County Sheriff to inform him that his boat, that had been secured out of the water by the winch, fell and was drifting out into the lake. Our client went home, pulled his boat onto shore, and secured the boat with a rope by using the retractable outside boat cleats. The next day, as our client was draining the water out of the boat, a wave caused the boat to violently move catching our client’s arm on the outside extended cleat. He suffered a severe wound to his arm requiring vascular surgery. The Defendant winch seller and manufacturer claimed that regardless of the defective winch they were not responsible for the water moving the boat. Gibson Steigauf proved that because of the defective winch it forced our client to secure and empty the boat which would not have occurred but for the defective winch. Result: $440,000 settlement before trial.
Our client was a 33 year-old plumber working alone in an ice cold, partially constructed building. He was in the process of carrying a new toilet into the front foyer when he slipped and injured his shoulder. As he was lying on the rough floor he saw a trail of clear ice on the floor which began under a machine left by another tradesman. He radioed for help and as he looked at the machine he saw that a brass pipe fitting had burst from the side due to ice building up in the machine. Gibson Steigauf proved that the other tradesman failed to properly drain the machine of water in freezing temperatures the day before in violation of safe practices. We were able to prove the case with the help of the actual burst brass fitting that was removed from the machine. Our client underwent extensive therapy for his shoulder injury. Result: $450,000 settlement plus waiver of Worker’s Compensation lien
A 55 year-old scientist was driving to a work site when he entered an intersection on a solid green light. A school bus entered the intersection from the opposite direction, attempted to turn left in front of our client, and caused a major crash. Our client had to be cut out of his car by emergency paramedics and rushed to the trauma hospital. The Defense claimed that the bus driver had the right of way but we were able to prove that the bus driver was at fault. Our client suffered internal injuries requiring surgery and subsequent emotional trauma from memories of the crash. Result: $1,100,000 mediation settlement shortly before trial.
Our client was having a high risk pregnancy with dangerously high blood pressure near the end term. Her OB/GYN physician discussed transferring her to specialty high risk pregnancy doctors but failed to do so. He inadequately monitored her pregnancy resulting in an emergency c-section birth of her severely brain damaged son from oxygen deprivation. Her son required full time care at their home. Result: Confidential Settlement.
Our 45 year-old client walked into a gas station to pay the cashier. He slipped on clear fluid that was on the tile floor in front of the cashier’s counter. Minutes before, a gas station employee had mopped that area and was in the process of mopping on the other side of the station at the time of the fall. No signs, cones or warnings were placed to notify our client and other customers of the wet floor. Our client suffered injuries to his shoulder, wrist and ankle.
Result: $200,000 settlement before trial
Our 50 year-old female client went to her local tattoo parlor for a cartilage ear piercing for an ear ring. Previously, she and her family had gotten numerous piercings and tattoos at this location but this time our client suffered an ongoing infection from the piercing site that required hospitalization and wound care. Result: $115,000 settlement
Our 12 year-old client was walking on the sidewalk to a neighbor’s house to bring her brother home for dinner. As she was walking parallel to the neighbor’s back yard a boomerang flew over the fence and struck her directly in her eye. Her brother and neighbor’s 12 year-old son were playing with a plastic boomerang that had been purchased that day by the neighbor’s father who was inside the house. Gibson Steigauf proved that the father negligently supervised and entrusted a dangerous object to the boy without proper instruction or supervision. Our client suffered a tear to her retina requiring emergency surgery by Northwestern’s specialty’s eye surgeons in Chicago. Result: $100,000 policy limit settlement
59 year-old union epoxy painter was injured in a new construction site for a California prison. He entered a partially constructed room to prep the floors so he could paint the walls. Another contractor had previously done work in a preset hole in the concrete floor but covered the hole with a thin piece of plywood that was not properly secured. Our client stepped on the plywood which shifted causing him to partially fall in the hole. A co-worker heard him scream, pulled him out of the hole and took pictures of the unsafe condition while awaiting the paramedics. The contractor admitted during the case that the pictures show an unsafe and unsecure hold covering. Our client suffered a shoulder surgery requiring surgery. Result: $425,000 settlement before trial in California Federal Court.
50 year-old man goes to a large warehouse hardware store who is greeted at the entrance by an employee who offers to help him find what he is looking for in the many store aisles. The store policy requires the employee to walk the customer to the area of interest but our client was just verbally told where to go in the store. As he walked into the store he turned the corner of an aisle and unbeknownst to him a horizontally displayed piece of lumbar was sticking out head height into the aisle. The board was unfinished wood that was displayed on a large wall of same color boards. Our client did not see the lumber and it struck him on his forehead causing bruising and neck pain. The Defendant argued it was not liable because the board was open and obvious. Gibson Steigauf successfully showed that the board was not properly displayed and a customer would not reasonably expect a board to be sticking out into the aisle. Additionally, the employee should have walked our client through the store and pointed out the dangerous board. Our client suffered a neck injury requiring surgery.
Result: $425,000 settlement at mediation.
Our 70 year-old client went into a large book store to buy a special book for her grandson. She entered the ladies restroom and when she attempted to sit onto the toilet, the seat was not attached causing her to fall directly onto the tile floor. Gibson Steigauf discovered that earlier that day a janitor had reported to the store manager that the toilet seat was not secure but the manager took no action to fix it or take it out of service. There were no warnings or signs that the seat was not attached. The Defendant argued that the event never happened, or if it did, that due to the tight space of the toilet stall she could not have fallen on the floor. If she did not fall directly onto the floor the Defendant’s expert opined that she was not injured. Gibson Steigauf retained an expert engineer who built a life size anatomically correct doll of our client and videotaped a demonstration showing that the doll would fall directly on the floor after sliding off the toilet. Due to the direct fall our client was injured. Our client suffered a low back injury requiring surgery. Result: $550,000 settlement at mediation shortly before trial.
A 12 year-old boy was raised by his blind grandmother and single mother who enrolled him into a local community service organization to participate in activities that could not be provided by his family. An adult volunteer for the Defendant Community Service Organization that was highly regarded, offered to mentor the boy. The man bought the boy presents, took the boy on trips, and had him to his house for sleepovers. During that time the man sexually assaulted the boy. Gibson Steigauf discovered that the volunteer had been barred from mentoring boys in another service organization due to allegations of sexual misconduct. The man was also not properly supervised in violation of the organization’s own policies. The case caused the service organization to be closed until completely new management and safety procedures were instituted. The man was criminally prosecuted and sent to prison.
Result: $470,000 settlement including some compensation paid personally from the sexual predator.
A 43 year-old homeowner had called the electric power company to request tree trimming due to the power lines running through tree branches in his back yard. He did not receive a return call. Our client was worried about his children who were old enough to climb the tree. Pursuant to State Regulations the power company was required to inspect and trim trees as needed every four years. Due to budget concerns it had been six years since the prior tree trimming. Our client could not afford to hire a private tree company so he climbed the tree with a saw to trim the overgrown branches but did not know that the tree was heavy in sap which conducts electricity. As he moved branches a “live wire” contacted the trunk of the tree which electrocuted our client. The power company argued that our client was at fault for trimming the tree on his own. Gibson Steigauf proved that the power company was negligent in not responding to the call for tree trimming and not complying with State Regulations. Our client lost parts of two toes and a tooth from the bolt of electricity.
Result: $225,000 settlement before trial.
A 24 year-old was out with friends celebrating a birthday. Our client was lightly intoxicated and walked from one bar to another to meet more friends. Shortly after arriving, a bar patron who was drinking for a long period of time who had previously left the bar returned. Our client did not know this young man but due to the bar patron’s intoxication he mistook our client for someone he was angry with, picked up a chair, and hit our client in the face and hand. Gibson Steigauf proved that the bar had served the man a number of drinks which was a cause of his intoxication. Our client suffered a broken nose and injured wrist requiring some physical therapy. At the time the Statutory Limitation on damages was $50,000 which limited the total recovery. Result: $50,000 settlement.
A 21 year-old college student visited a Hawaii resort with his family and a group of families. Some of the families stayed at different resorts along a boardwalk adjoining the beach and ocean. After dinner, our client and friends went out to the pool to swim and use the hot tub. It was around 11 pm and dark so our client began walking a female friend back to her resort down the board walk. As they began walking they saw a group of teenagers on the beach who began to walk toward them in a menacing manner. Our client and the girl turned around to return to his resort. As they began walking across the pool deck our client was attacked by the teenagers. Unbeknownst to our client, a resort security guard saw the events unfold and hid behind a bush trying to radio for help. He took no action to protect our client and fled when he saw the attack. Gibson Steigauf proved that the security guard did not comply with the resorts own security and safety procedures and could have stopped the attack. Our client suffered a broken nose and bruising. Result: $145,000 settlement.
A 41 year-old Union Carpenter was climbing up a rolling baker scaffold in a new construction office building when he fell three feet due to the scaffold ladder detaching. He landed in a preset hole in the office buildings concrete floor wrenching his knee. Our construction expert proved that another tradesman had used the scaffold without permission and did not reattach the scaffold ladder properly. Our client underwent a tibia plateau surgery but was able to return to work. Result: $690,000 settlement and waiver of worker’s compensation lien.
A 46 year-old roofer was working alone on a ladder that he put onto the side of the building. He was given the wrong type of ladder by the general contractor and it slipped causing him to land on concrete. Our client suffered a right heel fracture that did not require surgery. He was able to return to work.
Result: $390,000 settlement and waiver of worker’s compensation lien.