Recent Case Results
Car Crash: $807,500 settlement
Mr. Wallenstein’s client was an 84-year-old woman who was a passenger in a Lyft rideshare vehicle. Hers was the middle vehicle in a five-car, chain reaction rear-end accident. Her injuries included multiple broken ribs, a broken sternum, and a fracture of her 8th thoracic vertebrae. Although the fractures healed well and despite the absence of any evidence of a head injury, Mr. Wallenstein successfully argued that the crash resulted in his elderly client’s cognitive decline and the need for her to move into an assisted living facility. Complicating the case was that four other people were injured in the crash and were making competing claims against the available insurance policy limits. The case was resolved with a settlement of $807,500 for Mr. Wallenstein’s client.
Burn Injury: $680,000
Plaintiff sustained serious burn injuries when a couch he was sleeping on in his friend’s small apartment caught fire. Mr. Wallenstein immediately hired a fire cause and origin expert and inspected the scene to determine what caused the couch to ignite. The investigation revealed that the fire started when a sub-floor heater automatically turned on in the middle of a freezing winter night. Because the defendant landlord had assured the tenant that the heater had been disabled, the tenant felt safe putting the couch over the heater vent. The heater had never gone on in the previous two years the tenant lived there, but when the air temperature dipped to the lowest point it had in years, the heater came on, ultimately igniting the couch directly above the floor vent.
The landlord, an attorney himself, surprisingly had only $100,000 in homeowner’s liability coverage and soon offered to settle the policy limits' claim. After discovering that the defendant landlord owned several pieces of real estate, the settlement offer was rejected. After taking many depositions and several days of mediation, the case resolved for $680,000. Because the defendant had only $100,000 of insurance, Mr. Wallenstein secured a deed of trust on the defendant’s real estate. Upon the sale of the real estate, recovered the settlement's balance.
Head-On Car Crash: $975,000
Plaintiff was driving eastbound on Highway 52 in San Diego when a westbound vehicle lost control and crossed the center median, resulting in a head-on collision with the Plaintiff’s vehicle. Plaintiff sustained a serious ankle fracture requiring internal fixation. The defendant, a resident of Maryland, died of a heart attack shortly after the collision.
The defense argued that an unforeseeable heart attack caused the defendant to lose control, and therefore, his insurance carrier and estate were not liable for the damages. Mr. Wallenstein discovered that the defendant’s Maryland driver’s license had been previously suspended for health reasons. Further investigation revealed that while the defendant’s license had been reinstated, he had been involved in another accident after the reinstatement in which he had crashed his car into a house.
Upon this information being brought to light, the insurance carrier changed its position and offered its policy limit of $300,000 to settle the case. Mr. Wallenstein advised his client to reject that offer as further investigation revealed that the defendant had owned a vacant lot in Annapolis Maryland, assessed at $575,000. Mr. Wallenstein was able to convince the defendant’s estate to transfer that property to the Plaintiff, along with the $300,000 insurance policy limit. Mr. Wallenstein also obtained another $100,000 from Cal Trans by establishing that they should have had a center median barrier at the crash location. Plaintiff’s total recovery amounted to $975,000.
Trip And Fall: $375,000 Settlement
Plaintiff, a 77-year-old honorably discharged veteran of the US Armed Services, arrived at the VA Hospital in La Jolla, California, to have some blood work done. He had driven himself to the hospital and parked in the patient/visitors parking lot. The VA hired an independent valet service to take people from the parking lot to the hospital's front entrance in golf cart-like vehicles. Plaintiff got into one of the carts and sat on a rear passenger bench seat behind the driver, and the driver transported him to the hospital entrance.
The driver brought the cart to a complete stop, and the Plaintiff began to exit the cart. As he did so, his foot got entangled in the driver’s seat belt that the driver had left dangling down behind the driver’s seat to the rear passenger floorboard directly in front of Plaintiff. As he exited the vehicle, his entangled foot caused him to lose his balance, and he fell to the ground adjacent to the cart, fracturing his hip and requiring surgical repair.
Motorcycle Wrongful Death – Comparative Fault: $250,000
A thirty-year-old motorcyclist was seen by several witnesses speeding, pulling “wheelies,” and swerving in and out of traffic prior to the crash, and surveillance video from an adjacent business showed him traveling up to 100 mph in a marked 45 mph zone. Defendant, unable to see the motorcyclist coming from his left due to other traffic, pulled out from a stop sign into the motorcyclist’s path resulting in a fatal collision. The 75-page CHP report, produced over a four-month investigation involving traffic engineers, accident reconstructionists, and eyewitness interviews, placed 100% of the motorcyclist's fault. Recognizing that the case would have a significant chance of being lost at trial, Mr. Wallenstein was still able to negotiate a $250,000 settlement for the deceased motorcyclists’ parents for their son's tragic loss.
Slip And fall: $400,000
Plaintiff was going down the concrete exterior stairs of her apartment complex shortly after a neighbor had hosed down the stairs to clean them. Plaintiff slipped on the wet stairs and fell, badly fracturing her ankle. Mr. Wallenstein went to the scene the day the Plaintiff contacted him and thoroughly photographed and documented the scene. The non-slip tape applied to the edges of the steps years before was badly worn, frayed, and missing in places. While the defense expert was able to show that even when wet, the stairs were not violative of building standards, Mr. Wallenstein was able to obtain a $400,000 settlement for his client.
Back Surgery: $350,000 Settlement
Defendant made a left turn in front of Plaintiff’s oncoming vehicle resulting in a heavy impact, offset head-on collision. Plaintiff required ambulance transport to the ER and had a substantial medical bill from that visit. Plaintiff had no health insurance, but Mr. Wallenstein was able to convince the hospital to hold off on collection attempts until Plaintiff’s case was resolved. Mr. Wallenstein then assisted Plaintiff in getting all necessary medical care, including chiropractic, pain management, and eventually low back surgery on a lien basis, allowing Plaintiff to get the medical care he needed from top-notch doctors and to get back to work. The case then resolved for $350,000, and Mr. Wallenstein successfully negotiated all the medical liens so that Plaintiff not only got all his medical bills paid, but Plaintiff also received a substantial sum to compensate him for his pain and suffering.
Trip and Fall: $120,000
In his late 60’s, Plaintiff was in the check-out aisle of a large retailer, and as he took an item out of his shopping cart to place it on the check-out counter, caught his foot on a small protrusion on the floor. He began to fall forward but was able to break his fall by throwing his arm out in front of him and onto the counter. While he was able to break his fall, he jammed his shoulder, which ultimately required surgical repair.
The retailer defended the case deep into litigation, arguing that because the protrusion was less than 1/8 of an inch, it was too trivial to have been a substantial factor in causing the fall. The defense also contended that the Plaintiff’s shoulder problems were due to his pre-existing degenerative conditions. Mr. Wallenstein was able to convince them otherwise and settled the case for $120,000.
Auto Accident, $960,000
Auto accident intersection collision with disputed liability. Plaintiff suffered injuries requiring surgery to his shoulder, neck, and back. Defendant, a large corporation, hired its own orthopedic surgeon/biomechanical engineer who testified that the Plaintiff’s injuries were relatively minor and that the Plaintiff’s surgeries were unnecessary. Defendant’s pre-trial offer of $40,000 was rejected. Result: Jury trial resulting in judgment for Plaintiff of $960,000.
Car Crash: $300,000
Plaintiff was rear-ended on a surface street with moderate damage to both vehicles. Plaintiff, who had a history of prior neck and back injuries, suffered increased symptoms following this accident and required multiple nonsurgical pain management procedures. RESULT: Plaintiff obtained policy limits settlement of $100,000 from other driver’s insurance carrier, then made an underinsured motorist claim with her own carrier and recovered an additional $200,000 for a total recovery of $300,000.
Wrist Injury: $285,000
Plaintiff fainted and fell at work after being exposed to carbon monoxide fumes caused by defendant contractor’s use of gasoline powered concrete saw in adjacent office suite. Plaintiff fractured her wrist when she fell. The fracture healed but Plaintiff developed a mild case of reflex sympathetic dystrophy, which defendant’s medical experts disputed. Case settled shortly before trial for $285,000.
Back Injury: $250,000
Rear-end collision with minor visible damage to both vehicles. Plaintiff had unrelenting lower back pain until he received successful lumbar surgery employing a new, controversial method. Defendant argued that based on the minor vehicle damage and negative MRI of the Plaintiff’s lumbar spine, the Plaintiff at most suffered minor muscle strains, and his surgery was unnecessary. Plaintiff convinced the trial judge that the defendant’s biomechanical engineering expert's methods were unreliable, and the judge precluded the expert from testifying. Result: Jury verdict for Plaintiff with $250,000 recovery.
Wrist And Knee Injury: $235,000
Plaintiff’s car was broadsided by a city employee while on the job. Plaintiff suffered a wrist fracture and injuries to both knees, which required arthroscopic surgery. After extensive negotiations, the city denied liability, the case settled shortly before trial with the city paying the Plaintiff $235,000.
Back Injury: $122,000
Plaintiff was shopping at a retail store when a 4’11” 75-year-old female employee opened a door into the Plaintiff, knocking the Plaintiff onto her side as she was crouched down, looking at a lower shelf display. Plaintiff’s injuries led to chronic low back pain despite chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage, medication, and injections. Plaintiff ultimately underwent facet joint nerve blocks and finally obtained significant relief. Defendant store admitted liability but contended that it was unlikely the small, elderly employee could have opened the door hard enough to injure the Plaintiff. At most, the Plaintiff suffered mild sprains/strains. The defendant contended that the nerve blocks were unnecessary and not responsible for paying for those medical procedures. The highest pre-trial offer from the defendant store was $15,000, which the Plaintiff rejected. Result: Jury verdict for Plaintiff of $122,000 plus prejudgment interest and costs. After trial, several jurors commented that the Plaintiff’s attorney cross-examined the defendant’s medical expert so successfully that the jury thought the defense expert was on the Plaintiff’s side.
Slip And fall: $75,000
Plaintiff was shopping in the frozen food section of a grocery store and slipped in a puddle of water, landing on her wrist. Plaintiff developed carpal tunnel syndrome that required surgery. Defendant argued that carpal tunnel syndrome could not have been caused by the single trauma but was instead due to years of repetitive overuse. After forcing the defendant’s expert neurologist to admit otherwise at his deposition, the defendant agreed to pay for the Plaintiff’s damages. Result: $75,000 settlement.