Part of the personal injury attorney’s job is carefully listening to the client, evaluating a case, and choosing the right direction for the case. Often there can be multiple parties involved and how to include each in a lawsuit is a serious decision each attorney must make. Roger Booth of Booth Law joins us as a guest blogger to share the choices that led to an unprecedented $4MM settlement in Del Norte County, California.
The case involved two students at Humboldt State who were traveling northbound on
Interstate 101, near the Redwood National and State Parks, on their way to Seattle for
spring break. The day of the crash was extremely stormy, with lots of rain and high winds.
As they were coming down a long, straight downhill stretch, the students suddenly encountered an alder tree, which had fallen on to the highway and was blocking part of their lane. The driver swerved to the right to avoid the tree, at which point his car lost control, slid off the road and struck a tree along the shoulder.
The driver was killed instantly. The front seat passenger, his girlfriend, suffered a traumatic brain injury and was hospitalized for about a month. She received very little treatment after being released from the hospital, but continued to suffer from problems such as difficulty concentrating, memory loss, poor judgment and lack of inhibition.
Our initial investigation focused on the fallen tree. It had come from a group of alders, all of which were leaning towards the highway. In this area, alder trees are surrounded by much taller redwoods and tend to grow out towards the highway in order to get access to the light. The tree maintenance supervisor for defendant CalTrans, which maintains Highway 101, admitted in deposition that the group of alders in question was leaning to a degree that made the trees candidates for removal. But CalTrans argued that there are lots of trees with similar amounts of lean and that there are limits on CalTrans’ ability to keep up the maintenance of these trees while preserving the natural beauty of the area.
Please follow this link for the rest of the story.
Advocate Capital thanks Roger and all of the personal injury attorneys out there working for their clients and communities. They are making tough decisions every day to bring justice for those they represent.