A 53-year-old tree trimmer sustained a catastrophic injury when he fell off a 40-foot palm tree resulting in paraplegia and a mild traumatic brain injury. Thanks to Bentley & More, the injured worker was sent to a specialized rehabilitation hospital where he could obtain the care commensurate with his serious head and spinal cord injuries.
After several years of litigation, the defendant offered $1,800,000 to settle the entire case. Bentley & More attorneys Keith More and Dane Gilliam, strategically opted to stipulate the injured workers’ disability at 100% Permanent Disability so the client could continue to receive beneficial medical treatment paid for by the work comp insurance carrier. Up to this point, More and Gilliam had secured medical and disability benefits of $3,385,111 for the injured worker. “It really shocked me that the defendant did not want to entertain serious settlement discussions prior to settling at 100% PTD,” said More. “The data they used to substantiate their $1,800,000 offer was based on guesswork—not facts,” said More.
Following the permanent disability stipulation, we continued negotiating for another 8 months to resolve the entire case. Perseverance paid off and during the lengthy settlement negotiations the insurance company spent another $400,000 on necessary medical treatment. More and Gilliam were able to obtain an additional $5,000,000 in cash for the injured worker. That money has been placed into annuities for the sake of ensuring a lifetime of medical treatment and financial stability to the client. “The defendant eventually saw the light after we provided them with detailed itemizations of medical care that would be required in the injured worker’s future,” said More. “Our client is thrilled as he gets to be in control of his own medical treatment and has financial security for life,” said More.
On June 16, 2020, Bentley & More LLP filed suit on behalf of Bernie Bischof, the owner of Old World German Restaurant in Huntington Beach, who was catastrophically burned over 40% of his body when a transformer bank at the restaurant exploded last October. Bernie, who was hosting an Oktoberfest celebration at his restaurant the night of the explosion, has been hailed as a hero for clearing the patio of customers and employees in the minutes before the tragic explosion. The lawsuit was filed against SoCal Edison, which the complaint alleges spent years ignoring basic maintenance, ignoring warnings from Bernie about previous problems with the transformer, and ignoring SCE’s own employee, who thought the transformer was a “death trap.”
Founding Bentley & More LLP partner Greg Bentley said: “SoCal Edison knew its equipment was failing as far back as 2010 but ignored the dangers. This transformer explosion was completely preventable and was the result of a companywide policy of putting corporate profits and its own bottom line over public safety.”
The case is titled Bern Bischof, et al. v. Southern California Edison Company, Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. 20STCV22690, and includes as plaintiffs both Bernie and several of his family members who witnessed, and were injured by, the horrific explosion.
Fifteen years ago, a worker catastrophically fell off of a scissor lift, falling 13 feet from a vaulted ceiling, landing on a tile floor, and suffering life-altering injuries, including paraplegia and a traumatic brain injury. But that terrible fall was only the start of his long fight to receive the care and benefits to which he was owed.
Unsatisfied with three prior law firms, and still lacking essential medical treatment, the injured worker sought out Bentley & More LLP. Our firm took a chance and substituted in on a case that had been previously stipulated at 100% disability. But our paralyzed client still needed physical, occupational, and speech therapy—as for years, he had been without these essentials. Upon entering the case to fight on his behalf, we performed an immediate transfer of care to Casa Colina where he received the daily treatments desperately needed to strengthen his already atrophied and mangled body. Next, we secured a wheelchair accessible van and a wheelchair accessible hotel for weekend visitation with his 3 children—trying to help him restore some sense of normality and improve his quality of life. And we continued to fight on his behalf to secure essential treatment.
After years of litigation, and $7.8 million in medical treatment, Bentley & More attorneys Keith More and Dane Gilliam settled his work comp case for an additional $5.5 million. “We are so excited for our client, who has waited patiently for this day,” said More. “We took a big chance on this case but saw the need to help.” Proudly, our client has bought a house with our help and will be reunited with his family forever. He will be able to continue his therapy and move forward with his life. And with this settlement, he may again be able to achieve some small part of his life before this terrible tragedy. “We were honored to represent our client, grateful for his trust in our firm, and wish him the very best,” finished More.
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