The Plaintiff is an Iraqi war veteran, who previously suffered serious back injuries in Iraq and who had come to the Bay Area to attend Hastings Law School. Plaintiff’s attempt to put his life back together following his injury in the service of our country was interrupted by a tragic bicycle collision. While commuting to school, Plaintiff was knocked off his bicycle when his handle bar was clipped by the passenger side mirror of a Lexus passing too closely. The Defendant, a retired railroad lawyer, claimed he never saw the Plaintiff and that the Plaintiff must have done something wrong to cause the collision.
The trial was memorable for three reasons:
- The meds paid by Tri-Care were only $30,000, although the gross meds were about $180,000. Because Plaintiff was a student, there was no wage loss. Defense increased their offer from a waiver of costs to $27,500, only after two hard fought hours at a settlement conference. The offer was never formally increased thereafter.
- Liability was vehemently contested. The defense made many harsh, nasty personal attacks on the Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s counsel. The Defense conduct was deplorable - screaming in chambers, during cross-examination and everywhere else. The defense’s closing mentioned George by name five times, accusing him and the Plaintiff of lying and trying to cover up other injuries that were actually unrelated. Despite the defense tantrums, George, always the consummate trial lawyer, maintained his composure and did not stoop to the sophomoric antics of the defense. The plaintiff maintained his dignity throughout the attacks, and behaved like the truly strong man that he is.
- San Francisco Judge Robertson struck 10 potential jurors for cause because of their dislike for bicycle riders. In San Francisco, most motorists do not like to share the road with bicycle riders and these same motorists are usually bad jurors for bicyclist plaintiffs. The Court’s integrity in empaneling a fair and impartial jury contributed to an award of $373,000, less 33% for comparative fault. The award was approx. $320,000 for general damages, plus some funds for a future surgery for the Iraqi war veteran, and for some loss of household services.
Choulos, Choulos & Wyle handle all types of catastrophic injury cases, but the firm is particularly renowned for its success in handling motorcycle and bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents and brain injury claims.
All of us here at Advocate Capital, Inc. applaud George Choulos and Claude Wyle for their victory on behalf of this injured veteran AND thank them for keeping the streets safer for all of us.
Senior Vice President