A personal injury lawsuit filed by Daniels Law resulted in a $10.9 million jury verdict against Los Angeles County. The personal injury case involved a man who suffered serious injuries when a county employee drove a forklift truck over his legs.
Jurors deliberated for nearly a day before determining that the county was responsible for the injuries of James Cobb, who was 34 when the accident occurred on the grounds of USC Hospital in 2015.
The award is more than double the county’s highest settlement offer, according to Daniels Law Partner Bill Daniels.
“The county offered to settle the case during jury deliberations for $5 million after initially making a $1.5 million settlement offer before the trial began,” Daniels said.
The county rejected an earlier $3 million settlement request, in addition to an offer to implement a so-called “high / low agreement” that would set a lower and upper limit on potential damages, even if the jury agreed to a higher or lower amount.
As Cobb walked across a crosswalk after parking his car, a forklift driven by hospital employee John Hill, hit Cobb from behind.
The impact caused Cobb to fall forward, and the forklift truck then ran over both legs. Cobb’s injuries required extensive surgery and ongoing rehabilitation.
During the trial, county attorneys argued that Cobb could have avoided the forklift if he had taken better care crossing the crosswalk where the collision occurred. Cobb, an employee of a local party rental company, was working on the grounds of County USC Hospital to oversee a tent installation for two events on the USC Medical School campus at the time of the accident.
Crucial to the eight-figure verdict were extensive video animations and exhibits that graphically documented why Cobb was an innocent pedestrian legally walking in a crosswalk and showing how the county’s negligencein operating its forklift truck.
“We strongly believe that the county’s defense team thought they could win by confusing our jurors. Our strategy was to paint a clear picture so that jurors could understand why we brought this case to trial and get a fair outcome,” Daniels added.
County attorneys were shocked by the jury’s verdict and appealed, arguing the verdict was too high and laying out legal arguments that were basically the same ones the jury rejected at trial
Three justices with the California Court of Appeals rejected the county’s argument and upheld the ruling in all respects.
“The judgment is affirmed. Cobb is awarded his costs on appeal,” Justice Chavez wrote in the appellate decision.
“The Cobb trial was a great success because we put together a great team,” Daniels concluded.
The hefty personal injury award is one of a string of jury victories won by Daniels Law over the past five years.