Auto Accident, Million Dollars, St. Charles



Settled 2010



Cause number and case confidential at request of defendant’s insurer

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Robert H. Pedroli, Jr.


Type of Claim: Single vehicle accident, driver drove off the road causing the passenger side door to strike a tree on private property. The passenger’s right (non-dominant) arm was severely injured. Although there were no alcohol related charges brought, there was evidence that the driver had been drinking and was impaired at the time of the collision.  He fled on foot and did not interview with the police until the next day.

Defendant disputed the nature and extent of plaintiff’s alleged injuries. Defendant originally urged comparative fault and other factors.

Damages/Injuries Alleged: Plaintiff sustained a disruption of the ulnar nerve and median nerve in the right arm with fracture of the humerus. Plaintiff was treated at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center and transferred to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis for peripheral nerve surgery. She also underwent additional debridements and a late tendon transfer surgery in her hand for improved use of her fingers. The surgeon testified that her recovery was amazing and outstanding in that she retained more than 50%  of the use of her hand.   She does have significant scarring on her arm and this is permanent. Her medical expenses were $181,000.00 and no further medical expenses or treatment would be necessary. There were no lost wages as plaintiff was a student. She is employable in her field, but she will have some permanent limitations regarding heavy labor.

Plaintiffs Experts: Dr. Susan MacKinnion, M.D., peripheral nerve surgeon, by video deposition; Dr. Jesse Susi, M.D., orthopedic surgeon, by video deposition; Dr. Thomas Tung, plastic surgeon, deposition canceled at the time of settlement; Dr. Leesa M. Galatz, M.D., deposition canceled at the time of settlement.


SETTLEMENT NEGOTIATIONS:  Defendant’s insurer offered $400,000.00 at mediation in 2009 claiming that there was no evidence of intoxication. Plaintiff took the deposition of several people who were at the bar with plaintiff and defendant earlier that evening establishing that defendant was drinking alcohol.  Plaintiff’s made a drop dead demand of $1,150,000.00 and costs (over $5,000.00) shortly after the mediation. Defendant then offered $750,000.00 late in 2009. Plaintiff refused to further negotiate from this drop dead number and then put a deadline on the demand.  Defendant agreed to this number within days of the deadline. There was a pending claim for punitive damages relating to drinking and driving.  Such a claim is not covered by insurance and this put pressure on the insurer to fairly and reasonably settle the case in order to fulfill its fiduciary duty to its insured, the driver.  The insurer’s failure to act reasonably to settle within policy limits may have exposed the insurer to a bad faith refusal to settle type of claim if this case went against the driver and a punitive damage judgment was entered against the driver.  Further litigation against the insurer would have likely ensued if any of the award was not covered by insurance.

SETTLEMENT: $1,150,000.00 and the insurer paid plaintiff’s court costs which were in excess of $5,000.00 in exchange for a confidential release. The parties are confidential, as well as the insurer. It was agreed that this particular information could be release on this web site, but the settlement and the parties could not be otherwise reported to any media outlets.

COMMENTS: We are very satisfied with this settlement in St. Charles County, as this county is considered one of the most conservative jurisdictions in the State of Missouri for awarding money in personal injury cases. We stuck to our negotiating position and our client was very patient throughout the process. The insurer finally fairly settled the case after years of litigation and on the eve of trial.  Our use of the Hammer Letter with Deadlines against the insurer was instrumental in obtaining a favorable result.