Yarborough Applegate Law Firm Recovers $9.9 Million Settlement for Traumatic Brain Injury Victim
Charleston, SC (Law Firm Newswire) October 9, 2012 - Charleston, SC (Law Firm Newswire) October 9, 2012 – The Charleston personal injury lawyers of Yarborough Applegate Law Firm have negotiated a $9.9 million settlement for a client who was injured on a ride last summer.
David B. Yarborough Jr., William E. Applegate, IV and Douglas E. Jennings of the Yarborough Applegate firm, reached the settlement through mediation on August 24th. The deal included a partial confidentiality clause that prevents disclosure of any details about the case that could identify the defendant, or its location.
Yarborough Applegate’s client, a 44-year-old mother of two young boys, was ejected from a “commercial recreational amusement ride” in July 2011 and sustained traumatic brain injury, which caused her brain to swell. She went home after the accident with a throbbing headache, but her husband rushed her to the emergency room hours later when she began vomiting and having difficulty speaking.
Surgeons had to remove a piece of her skull to allow her brain to expand. She spent several months in the hospital and now suffers from frequent seizures and neurological defects.
“There are so many activities of daily living that our client can no longer participate in as a result of her injuries. Not only was she previously the breadwinner in the family, she was a full time mom who managed their household. She has two boys, an 8-year-old and 10-year-old, and her husband alternates late shifts as a police officer. Now she can’t drive, she can’t cook, she can’t shop for groceries, and she can’t help her kids with their homework, due to her cognitive deficits. This financial recovery allows them to hire the attendant and medical support they need, to try to put their family back together,” said Applegate.
Yarborough hired a team of private investigators to probe the ride’s operation, shortly after the injury. Using laser and radar detection devices, the team determined that the defendant’s amusement ride was being operated at twice the manufacturer’s recommended top speed of 15 mph.
“It certainly helped to have evidence that the ride was being operated in a reckless manner,” he added. “Before that, all we had was the word of my client and some friends of hers who were also on the ride.”
Despite the evidence, the defendant denied any negligence in the accident, and argued that the plaintiff was barred from recovery because she had signed a risk and liability waiver, before boarding the ride. Yarborough contended that the waiver was ambiguous, and did not explicitly include the ride that had injured his client. And, even if the waiver had been inclusive, he asserted that state law does not allow a release for reckless conduct.
“It’s not reasonable for our client to anticipate that the operator of a ride is going to willfully ignore the bright red warning sign printed on the side of the equipment that says: ‘Do not operate in excess of 15 mph,’” he said.
During mediation, an owner of the defendant company made an unusual request to have a few minutes alone with the plaintiff. “He went in without his lawyers and without the mediator or insurance adjuster, and he gave the most heartfelt apology that I’ve ever seen in the 15 years that I’ve been practicing law. He wept as he apologized to my client,” Yarborough stated.
“We think this is a phenomenal result for our clients in what started out as a very tough case. There were complex legal issues involved, and the insurance company for the defendant retained three of the biggest law firms in South Carolina to file every possible motion and appeal to block any potential recovery by the plaintiff. Ultimately, the case was settled for all of the available insurance coverage at mediation while on an interlocutory appeal,” explained Yarborough.
Yarborough Applegate is a law firm dedicated to helping its clients obtain compensation to make up for the harms and losses caused by serious injuries and wrongful deaths. Roughly 75% of the firm’s cases come as referrals from other attorneys who associate Yarborough Applegate to be lead trial counsel. Yarborough Applegate provides potential clients and co-counsel with a number of ways to reach out to the firm, and information is readily available at http://www.yarboroughapplegate.com.
Yarborough Applegate Law Firm
291 East Bay Street
Charleston, SC 29401