On October 15, 2015, John Doe and his friend were enjoying a walk down Santa Monica Boulevard when they heard sirens approaching from behind. A patrol vehicle had clipped another car in a failed passing attempt, careening out of control and smashing into the two men. They were rushed to hospital.
It was then that Garo and Armen stepped in, recovering a record settlement for a single plaintiff against Los Angeles County for Mr. Doe.
An Unnecessary Response
On the night the event took place, the deputy who was in control of the vehicle was responding ‘Code 3’ (with lights and sirens) to a spousal assault in progress call. While it is categorical that incidents of this nature are responded to with maximum priority, in the case of this particular deputy, that response was totally unnecessary:
The deputy clipped the car in front and lost control, careening onto the sidewalk and smashing into Mr. Doe and his friend at a speed of 55mph — nearly double the speed limit. The defense argued that the driver of the vehicle which failed to yield the right of way was solely responsible for the events that transpired.
However, the Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team concluded that the deputy “caused the collision as he was operating his patrol vehicle at a speed that was unreasonable or prudent, in violation of California Vehicle Code 22350.”
The deputy knowingly broke departmental policy when he chose to pass a vehicle to the right, which was trying to lawfully yield to the lights and sirens. The California Vehicle Code “mandates that drivers yield to emergency vehicles by immediately driving to the right hand curbline until the emergency vehicle passes. The department trains employees driving ‘Code 3’ not to pass on the right so other drivers can move to the right and follow the law.”
There were a number of tests conducted for this case in order to demonstrate the speed and handling characteristics of the out-of-control patrol car.
The Extent of John’s Injuries
John was rushed to a nearby emergency medical center. The extent of his injuries were alarming. These included:
Radiological examination revealed the head trauma suffered:
An expert neuro-ophthalmologist also confirmed Mr. Doe to have suffered some vision changes, which, at times, impacted his ability to read for long periods of time.
An Administrative Issue
What happened to the deputy that was driving the vehicle that collided into Mr. Doe and his friend? The MAIT team concluded that the deputy driving the patrol vehicle was the primary cause of the accident which totally destroyed John’s life.
The California Peace Officer Bill of Rights stipulates that administrative investigations must be conducted within 365 days of receiving knowledge of an event and that if no action is taken within the required time period, then the ability to take action is revoked.
The deadline in the case of this tragic accident would have been October 14, 2016. However and curiously, it was not until November 11, 2017 (more than 365 days after the crash) that this incident was brought to light and only because a disinterested supervisor with no involvement in the event intervened and completed the necessary paperwork.
Prior to the supervisor stepping up, there was not even a record that the incident had taken place. As part of the resolution of the case, the County of Los Angeles made it a point to look into this hard deadline of 365 days to prevent future individuals who should be held administratively responsible from getting off on a technicality.
Settlement & Outcome
“We didn’t just get things done by talk. We used three-dimensional models to show how grossly negligent the defendant driver was; to show that this could have been prevented.”
— Garo Mardirossian
Through our signature use of multimedia exposition, we were able to demonstrate the facts of this case at an unparalleled level of detail and nuance. We showed the defense that we were ready to win.
And we did.
We reached a settlement of $42.2 million: the highest settlement in history for a single plaintiff against Los Angeles County. This figure is almost double that which was estimated as the out of pocket loss by a forensic economist, based on estimate loss of earnings and cost of medical treatment.
Our primary goal is to facilitate a better life for the people we serve. While for some people life will never be the same again, we strive to secure a future for them that helps make up for, insofar as possible, the catastrophic and tragic experience he or she may have suffered. We are passionate about the people we represent, and everything we do, we do in service of bringing justice to those who have been traumatically affected due the lack of care by others.
Our Lawyers Are Dedicated To Helping Those Who Have Been Catastrophically Injured
Contact Mardirossian Akaragian LLP Today
Our firm offers exceptional talent, abundant resources, tireless dedication, and years of experience to give you the best chance of success in obtaining maximum compensation. Led by our award-winning founding attorney, Garo Mardirossian, we are prepared to provide you with aggressive representation and personalized legal guidance you need.
Talk to a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer about your case or contact our firm to schedule a no-cost consultation.
Admitted to practice in 2006, Armen has arbitrated, tried, and settled several cases which have resulted in multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements.
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