A superior court judge has awarded a San Mateo, California woman $45 million in a civil suit filed over a car accident that left her a quadriplegic.
Before the tragic car accident that took the use of her limbs, Tricia Roth, then 41, enjoyed swimming, horseback riding and ballroom dancing. On the morning of September 11, 2006 she was driving her Volvo when, according to her attorney, a red Chevrolet pickup ran a stoplight and slammed into the front passenger side of her car at about 40 mph. The force of the impact threw her around the car, breaking her neck. When emergency responders arrived on the scene, Roth was unable to move.
The pain and suffering experienced by Roth and her husband, a scientist who has become a “near full-time” caregiver to his wife, was estimated by the plaintiff’s attorney at $20 million. Another reason for the large amount of the award is due to the fact that Roth has now lost her future potential earnings as a software engineer.
At the wheel of the red pickup truck that caused Roth’s accident was Roman Pantoja, 72, owner of the family business Division 1 All Service, a small demolition and hauling firm. The truck he drove was one of their company vehicles. The multimillion-dollar judgment holds Pantoja and his South San Francisco-based company accountable for the accident. The intended targets of the civil suit, though, are Pantoja’s two insurance companies. According to Roth’s attorney, Mary Alexander, both companies, Lincoln General Insurance Co. and Colony Insurance have refused to defend Pantoja. The claim that they are not responsible for Roth’s massive injuries because Pantoja was not actually driving the truck for work related purposes at the time of the accident, though the court later determined that Pantoja was likely using the truck to pick up company supplies. Alexander has reported that she plans to sue both insurance companies for bad faith.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an automobile accident, and the insurance company refuses to pay, you should contact an attorney immediately. You may be entitled to economic and non-economic damages, and an experienced attorney knows how to deal with the insurance companies to get you the settlement you deserve.
In cases such as Tricia Roth’s, it is a shame that her attorney has to go as far as suing the insurance companies ,but unfortunately, incidents like that one of all too common. A 2008 report by the American Association of Justice explained how an increasing number of insurers have “…endeavored to deny claims, delay payments, confuse consumers with incomprehensible insurance-speak, and retroactively refuse anyone who may cost them money.”
Don’t let insurance companies get away with denying your rightful claim. Call MLN Law at (404) 531-9700 for more information about your rights.