$1.5M punitive,$1.78 compensatory damages awarded to 5 injured in car accident caused by drunk driver

seattle car accident and whiplash injury attorneyFlorencio Gonzalez Sr. was driving a van with his five children on board when he was rear-ended by car driven by an intoxicated college student. Stanley Bryant, 20, who was driving his father’s car, had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .22 BAC when he hit Gonzalez’s van.

The force of the rear-end collision pushed Gonzalez’s van into oncoming traffic where the van collided with a car driven by Irma Jo Gregory. The collision was so severe that the van was ripped open and the rear seat, with two of Gonzalez’s children in it, was thrown 30 feet.

Florencio Sr. filed a negligence lawsuit against Byrant on behalf of himself and his minor children. Gregory and Gonzalez’s 19-year-old son also joined in on the lawsuit claiming that Bryant was negligent for driving while intoxicated and for failing to provide a proper lookout in rear-ending the van.

Two of Gonzalez’s children — Ricardo, 12, and Florencio, 19, were the most seriously injured.

Ricardo suffered serious injuries to his legs with fractures to his tibia and fibula. His growth plate was affected in one leg which could affect the leg’s normal growth pattern. Ricardo had to undergo surgery to put screws in his legs to stabilize the fractures. He faces an additional surgery. His past medical expenses totaled $77K and his future medical expenses are estimated between $30-60K.

Florencio, 19 suffered a knee injury and had to undergo laparoscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He also suffered a sprained ankles. His past medical expenses totaled $40.4K and his future medical expenses are estimated between $25-30K.

Gonzalez’s other three children, Selenia, 17; Leslie, 14; and Kirby, 10; suffered soft tissue damage and whiplash injuries. In addition, Kirby suffered a hairline fracture to his tibia.

Gregory suffered soft tissue injuries and required $18K in medical care.

The negligence trial consisted of two phases. The first phase awarded the plaintiffs $1.78M in compensatory damages and also found that punitive damages were warranted.

The parties all settled for $1.5M of punitive damages before a second trial phase was commenced.

A tax exempt annuity will be set up on behalf of the minor Gonzalez children for their portion of the recovery.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries and whiplash involves damage to the muscles, ligaments and tendons. Soft tissue injuries are common in car accidents and can cause severe pain and even cause disability. Often sufferers will have muscle spasms to the neck and shoulders and headaches for an extended period of time.

Often, insurance companies will attempt to minimize compensation when it comes to soft tissue injuries. However, a personal injury attorney with experience in these types of cases will work hard to obtain the compensation victims deserve.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of the Farber Law Group. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident or have suffered whiplash injuries, you should seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney. The Farber Law Group has more than 30 years representing people with serious personal injuries and we are here to help. Herbert Farber, founder of The Farber Law Group, is A/V-rated under Martindale-Hubbell’s peer review rating system based on an exemplary record of honesty and integrity.

Citation: Gonzalez v. Bryant, No. 2010-CV-0545-S (Ga., Rabun Co. Super. Dec. 8, 2011).

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