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March 2019

How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Divided in California?

Wrongful death claims are appropriate when a family member dies because of the negligence, recklessness, or malicious intent of another person or entity. A wrongful death claim cannot take back the tragedy of losing a loved one, but it can help pay for the mountain of expenses that can arise after an unexpected death. Receiving a wrongful death settlement could compensate dependents for a variety of damages. California has specific laws in pla... Read More

Bentley & More LLP achieves $44,100,000 binding arbitration award on behalf of an injured worker

On February 27, 2019, Keith More of Bentley & More LLP in Newport Beach, achieved a $44,100,000 binding arbitration award per the labor union contract on behalf of his client Erick Gonzalez, a worker injured in November 2014 when he fell 24-25 feet while working as a connector building a multistory commercial building.  Mr. Gonzalez was landing steel decking bundles onto iron cross beams at the building project when he tripped over a black banding strap and fell to the ground below.  Mr. Gonzalez was immediately hospitalized, underwent spinal surgery, and was separated from his family for years while he received treatment.  Even to this day, Mr. Gonzalez remains quadriplegic with 100% permanent disability.

Bentley & More LLP litigated both the third-party personal injury case and the worker’s compensation matter on Mr. Gonzalez’s behalf.  After a confidential settlement in the third-party case, reached by Greg Bentley and Keith More, Mr. Gonzalez’s employer (Herrick Corporation) and its insurer (Arch Insurance Company) sought a credit in the worker’s compensation case—which would have eliminated Mr. Gonzalez’s right to receive benefits until the amount of credit was reached—of more than $2,000,000.  But credits are not available to the employer until it has paid its proportionate share of liability – its percentage of fault multiplied by the injured worker’s total tort damages.

Bentley & More LLP and Keith More fought tirelessly against the employer’s petition for credit, based on Herrick’s extensive fault for the accident, including Mr. Gonzalez’s supervisors knowing about the bands, knowing they were a tripping hazard, and only marking them with orange spray paint after Mr. Gonzalez suffered his devastating fall.  Mr. More’s efforts resulted in a binding arbitration with Herrick and its insurer, where the arbitrator found that Herrick Corporation was 60% at fault for Mr. Gonzalez’s injuries, and found his tort damages totaled more than $73,000,000.  Applying Herrick’s percentage of fault, the binding arbitration thus found that Herrick and its insurer were not entitled to a single dollar of credit until they had paid benefits exceeding $44,100,000.

“We are thrilled that the arbitrator saw this petition for credit for what it was – a sham by Herrick and its insurer to avoid paying benefits,” said attorney Keith More.  “Under this binding award, Erick will be entitled to receive the benefits he deserves, and full treatment for his injuries for the rest of his life. ”

The case name is Erick Gonzalez v. Herrick Corporation, et al., Ironworkers Collectively Bargained Workers Compensation Program Case No. IWADR 00572.

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Is the County Responsible for Pothole Damage?

A pothole can form from the effects of weathering and erosion over time, or because of a poorly designed roadway with infrastructure problems. Ignored potholes can widen and deepen, creating significant hazards for drivers and bicyclists. Striking a pothole could cause significant vehicle damage or an auto accident. Potholes can cause tire blowouts, alignment problems, bent rims, loss of vehicle control, and overturn accidents. It is up to the... Read More

Are Personal Injury Settlements Community Property?

Obtaining a settlement for your personal injury could give you the financial relief you need to pay for medical debt, fix damaged property, and get back on your feet. If you and your spouse file for divorce, however, the law may entitle your spouse to a portion of your settlement – even if your spouse was not involved in the accident. In the eyes of California law, personal injury settlements obtained during the course of a marriage are commun... Read More

Can I Claim Personal Injury If I Was at Fault?

The time after a car accident can be stressful, particularly if the accident was your fault. You are likely worried about your expenses regarding the other party’s injuries and property damage as well as your insurance premiums. However, your own injuries – including your means of paying for treatment – may be your biggest source of stress. What are your options regarding compensation for your injuries? California Is a Fault State Some state... Read More

Do Car Seats Expire?

Reusing your old car seat from your first child may seem like a good way to save money when welcoming your second…until you realize the potential risks this could have for your child in an auto accident. Car seats do have expiration dates, and not just to force parents to buy them more often. Manufacturers tell buyers to purchase new car seats every six to 10 years for important safety reasons. Always check for an expiration date before instal... Read More