Uninsured Motorist Insurance:
A Story

 

Laguna Canyon Road was dark and full of rush hour traffic as the man was driving home from work.  As he was momentarily stopped in traffic, the man's car was suddenly rear ended by another car.  As his car was thrown forward the man turned his wheel to the left but his car was still thrown into the rear of the car ahead of him.

            

There was significant damage to the man's car, as well as to the car of the lady who hit him. The lady who hit him was injured so badly that she had to be taken away by ambulance. The man's car was not drivable and had to be towed away.

            

The man was scheduled to go away the next day for a pre-scheduled family vacation. The man and his family went away but while away he noticed increasing shoulder pain and that, after taking a shower, he was unable to hold a towel to dry his back.

            

When he returned to his home after the trip, the man sought medical attention.  The medical doctor he saw diagnosed a shoulder injury and prescribed physical therapy. The man started the physical therapy treatment. The medical doctor also prescribed an MRI of the man's shoulder. The client's health insurance company refused to authorize the MRI unless the man first completed several more weeks of physical therapy. That's when the man contacted attorney John Burns and became a client of Mr. Burns.

            

Mr. Burns immediately arranged to have the client's MRI performed by a local MRI facility on a lien basis. This meant that no insurance company authorization was needed. The MRI bill would be paid out of the settlement with the lady who ran into the client's car. The MRI showed a rotator cuff tear in the client's shoulder. It soon became clear that the client was going to need rotator cuff surgery.

 

The client wanted to have the rotator cuff surgery performed by a highly regarded surgeon and facility.  Accordingly, he chose a prestigious orthopedic surgeon in Los Angeles. Mr. Burns drove with the client to the client's appointment and met the surgeon who was going to perform the procedure.  Mr. Burns also obtained the surgeon's agreement to have a nurse take photos of the surgery of the client while the surgery was in process in the hospital.  

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By the conclusion of the initial physical therapy, the shoulder surgery and the surgery rehabilitation, the client had accrued substantial medical bills due to the accident. Mr. Burns submitted a claim to the insurance company of the lady who had rear ended the client but that insurance company refused to pay. Mr. Burns then filed a lawsuit against the lady. The insurance company for the lady still tried, however, to delay paying the client's claim.

 

Mr. Burns called the lady's insurance adjuster and explained that the client had significant medical bills which could be presented to a jury at trial. He also explained that amount of medical bills would certainly result in a verdict in excess of the insurance policy limits of the lady who had hit the client.

 

Mr. Burns also told the adjuster that this was particularly true in light of the fact that the photos of the client going through the shoulder surgery would be shown to the jury at trial.  At that point, the adjuster agreed to pay the client the full amount of the lady's insurance limits.

 

Mr. Burns had also realized, early in the case, that the client had Uninsured Motorist insurance coverage on his own automobile liability insurance policy.  In California, this insurance covers you if you are hit by a driver who does not have any insurance. 

 

It also covers you when you are injured by an Under Insured driver. An Under Insured driver is someone who has insurance but not enough insurance to cover the full value of your claim. That was the situation which existed with the client because the lady who hit him had caused him injuries worth more than insurance policy limits she had.

 

For this reason, Mr. Burns then made a claim against the client's own insurance company under the Under Insured Motorist provisions of the client's policy.  The client's insurance company eventually agreed to a settlement.  It agreed to pay an additional amount of money which was almost equal to the amount paid by the insurance company of the lady who hit the client. This resulted in an excellent total settlement for the client.

 

The moral of this case history is that all drivers need to talk to their automobile insurance company about adding Uninsured/Under Insured Motorist coverage on their automobile insurance policies.  That insurance will provide you with a valuable source of payment in the event you are hit by someone who does not have any car insurance or, like the client's case, does not have enough insurance to pay the full value of your claim.  

 

5 Steps to take if you have Been Bitten by a Dog

The unfortunate truth is that man's best friend can cause a great deal of pain and harm.  What's worse is that most bites come from dogs that the victim owns or knows through a friend or family member. Many of these bites require medical attention and a few are even fatal. 

 

California law makes it the responsibility of the dog's owner for any and all damages caused by the dog as a result of the incident.

 

If you have suffered from a dog bite, taking these steps will help you get compensated for the medical expenses you incurred.

  1. Take pictures of the scene, if you are able. Take a picture of the dog, of your injuries and where it occurred.
  2. Get the contact information of anyone who witnessed the attack and be sure to stay in touch with them.
  3. Find out if the dog has ever been quarantined by animal control or had any previous "Animal Bite Reports" filed against it.
  4. Research the local leash law of where the incident occurred and see if the law was being violated when the dog bit you.
  5. Interview neighbors of the dog and see what they say about the behavior of the animal.  Neighbors will be able to give great insight into how the dog normally behaves. 

 

Taking these steps will help you find the information you need about the owners and the dog. It will be dramatically increase your ability to receive compensation for your damages. 

 

If you have been bitten by a dog and have questions about what to do next, please give us a call, at no charge, at 949-496-7000.  

 

Family News from Donna Burns

Happy New Year to all of our clients and friends!!  The Christmas tree was bought, decorated with my Mom's handmade ornaments and topped off with John's New Jersey original flying angel, actually only her wings move.  All are now packed in their respective boxes, waiting for December 2014.

 

 

We celebrated Heather's birthday of Dec. 11 with a dinner party, serving her favorite - boeuf bourguignon.  Viva La France!  Here's a picture of Heather wearing her "birthday Princess" tiara, getting ready to open a big stack of birthday gifts.

 

 

 

 

 

Later that week I decided to become Mrs. Santa Claus and hand deliver our Christmas gifts to our son Sean, wife Natalie and our granddaughter Hanalei (Princess of Canada).  Using my retiree airline passes, I upgraded my sleigh to a 737, taking off for Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  A good move on my part as I was met with over a foot of snow and -26 degrees. 
 
The next day was spent shoveling snow at our son Sean's house on my way to a wonderful lunch with Hanalei, a day of sightseeing and a tour of the old Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg, with its fabulous decorations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then it was back to California and our law office Holiday luncheon.  This year we celebrated at one of our favorite restaurants, L'Hirondelle, in French "the swallow", which is located across from the Mission San Juan Capistrano. 

 
Although the swallows are supposed to return every year on St. Joseph's Day in March, as in the old song; "When the swallows come back to Capistrano", only a few actually make it.  The photo includes me, Heather, Chris Fellows, our dynamite paralegal, and Todd Hazlett, our settlement expeditor and courier extraordinaire.  John was our photographer, also extraordinaire.

 

 

I have a fast fix for all of us who ate far too much over the holidays.  The recipe is for a no-fail spinach soufflé, given to me in 1959 by one of my TWA roommates.  Believe me when I say it has been served around the world.   Any problems, questions??  Call me at our office phone number of 949-496-7000, ask for me and I'll help you. If I'm not there just leave a message and phone number and I'll call you back. Here's the recipe:

 

 

SPINACH SOUFFLE INGREDIENTS AND INSTRUCTIONS:

 

4 TABLESPOONS OF BUTTER, 4 TABLESPOONS OF WONDRA FLOUR, 4 BEATEN EGGS, 1 PINT (16 OZ) OF SMALL CURD COTTAGE CHEESE, 1 PKG FROZEN CHOPPED SPINACH, (DEFROST BUT  DO NOT DRAIN), 8 OZ GRATED CHEESE (EITHER SWISS, CHEDDAR, JACK OR COMBO), DASH OF SALT AND DASH OF TABASCO

 

MELT THE 4 TABLESPOONS OF BUTTER, POUR THE MELTED BUTTER INTO BOWL, ADD THE 4 TABLESPOONS OF WONDRA  FLOUR AND STIR.  (MAKES A "PASTE")                         

 

STIR IN THE 4 BEATEN EGGS  AND THEN JUST STIR IN ALL OTHER INGREDIENTS LISTED ABOVE.  (I HAVE ALSO MADE THIS IN A BLENDER USING LOW SPEED.)  

 

SPRAY A QUICHE DISH OR PIE DISH WITH "PAM" AND POUR EVERYTHING INTO IT.  THEN JUST BAKE AT 325 TIL GOLDEN BROWN AND TIL THE CENTER IS FIRM TO TOUCH. (SHOULD TAKE ABOUT 50 MIN TO 1 HOUR)  ENJOY!

 

As usual, the story of this month's activities ends with a picture of our granddaughter Hanalei (HL) Burns. This time it is on Christmas morning opening one of her gifts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hope that you, your loved ones and friends all had an enjoyable holiday season.  

 
Best Regards, 

Donna Burns  

The information you obtain in this newsletter is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.