I am sometimes asked “Who is the best personal injury lawyer in Chico” or “Why should I hire you”?

In response to a question like this I could talk about the fact that I am an ABOTA member (only about 1% of all lawyers worldwide are. You must be invited to join, have completed in excess of a certain amount of civil trials, etc.), all of the trial experience I have, more than 25 years of experience practicing law, results produced, etc.; however, a case I handled this year provides a good example of what an experienced personal injury lawyer can do for their client (and in this case an actual example of why hiring me brought my client an extra million dollars).

A man was riding his motorcycle on Esplanade when a van tried to make a left turn and hit him. His lower leg was seriously injured at the scene. The ligaments were re-attached at the hospital and the man was later sent home. Unfortunately the damage was too great, and he later had to have part of his lower leg amputated.

The van that hit the man was a regular looking unmarked van. It did not look commercial and did not have any company logo, etc.

When I first met with the man, I was very sorry to see what had happened to him, but was amazed at his strength, determination, and positive outlook (he was ex-military; God Bless our service men and women).

The van was insured by one of the well-known car insurance companies. After some initial game playing, they finally disclosed that the insurance policy limits were $300,000. (Please see my last two Blog articles on Insurance Primer and What in the world is policy limits).

The insurance company offered to send the closing paperwork and a check for $300,000 (out of which would be paid medical bills, attorneys fees, etc.). I knew $300,000 would not be enough to compensate this nice man and would not come close to providing the help he would need going forward with a below the knee amputation.

The problem facing us was that you are normally stuck with accepting a policy limits settlement, unless there is under-insured motorist coverage or another insurance policy (Personal assets can be pursued but often does not make economic sense).

Before thinking about settling, I wanted to make sure nothing was being missed. A little research revealed that the man was self-employed as a courier. Most self-employed people are considered independent contractors, so the fact that the at-fault driver had his own small business did not seem to help (it was a really small business run out of his home).

I also received confirmation from the courier’s insurance company that there was no other insurance available and again offering to send a check for $300,000; however, the fact that the van driver operated a courier business got me thinking. Maybe he was delivering packages for a larger outfit when this collision occurred? If so, then there may be a non-delegable duty which would allow legal responsibility on the company for whom the courier was delivering?

Suit was filed (in order to gain subpoena power and to initiate discovery).

After working on the case for a while, I was able to tell my client (Who placed his faith in me and told me he trusted me and to please give it a shot if I thought there might be another way to help him besides taking the $300,000 settlement) that the courier was delivering packages on behalf of another larger courier company. I contacted the new company and was told I had no case because the courier who caused the collision was an independent contractor.

Nonetheless the new company was added to the lawsuit. The new company disclosed in discovery that they carried a $1,000,000.00 insurance policy. The new company hired a very excellent and experienced lawyer. That new lawyer looked into the case, took some depositions and did his due diligence.

I prepared an extensive brief on the subject of the non-delegable duty exception to the normal Independent Contractor rule of non-liability for the hirer of an Independent Contractor. Not long after, the new company tendered the new $1,000,000.00 insurance policy and the case settled for $1,300,000.00.

An additional One Million dollars in settlement made a vast difference in the final compensation amount to my client, allowing him to get back on his feet, purchase a home and change to a new business that he can do with his amputation.

I have asked many lawyers how the non-delegable duty exception works, and many do not know what I am talking about.

I truly believe that 9 out of 10 lawyers would have missed this issue and accepted the initial $300,000 offer; so at least in this particular case, the choice to hire the Law Office of Adam Sorrells made a difference of One Million Dollars.

(Caution: Each case is different. No result promised. Past performance not a guarantee of future results. Result discussed in this article was dependent on the facts of this particular case and the results may differ if based on different facts).


Contact Us Today!

All Consultations are Free and Confidential
    • Please enter your name.
    • This isn't a valid phone number.
    • Please enter your email address.
      This isn't a valid email address.
    • Please make a selection.
    • Please enter a message.