Settlements & Verdicts 2010

12/6/10 $130,000 Settlement: Medical malpractice Failure to supervise Elderly Patient

On June 15,2009, the claimant, age 98, was a patient in a nursing home in New Bedford Massachusetts. On this date , the claimants family took her outside the facility for lunch.  Prior to leaving the nursing home the family requested that the staff disengage the chair alarm that was attached to the claimant’s wheelchair so as to prevent the alarm from activating while they were outside the facility.  Upon the family’s return, they notified the staff that the alarm was disengaged and that it needed to be reactivated.  The staff failed to reattach the alarm.  Several hours later the claimant fell out of her wheel chair and fractured her hip.

Brian Cunha & Associates filed a claim against the nursing home alleging that the facility committed malpractice when they failed to engage the wheelchair alarm and to provide proper supervision.  The case settled within three weeks after the law office of Brian Cunha & Associates submitted their demand for settlement.

  • 11/4/10   $111,974.00   Arbitration Award:  Automobile Accident: Failure to avoid Plaintiffs vehicle after Plaintiff lost control striking guardrail.

The female claimant, 26, was involved in an automobile accident on August 31, 2007, on Route 79 South in Fall River, MA.  The claimant lost control of her vehicle and hit the right guardrail causing her to careen across the highway striking the center guardrail and coming to rest blocking the high speed lane.

The accident was investigated by the Massachusetts State Police, who arrived after the accident.   The officer, after interviewing witnesses concluded that the Plaintiff was at fault, under the influence of alcohol and was cited for failure to use care in changing lanes.  The Plaintiff sustained a fractured left ankle requiring surgery and a chin laceration resulting in 22 stitches to her chin that did not leave a scar.

The Plaintiff retained Brian Cunha & Associates, who investigated the accident and retained an accident reconstructionist to reconstruct the accident.  In addition, Brian Cunha & Associates represented the Plaintiff in the Fall River District Court on the charge of driving under the influence and was able to convince the District Court that the Plaintiff was not drunk at the time of the accident and the charges were dismissed.

In addition, our office managed to track down two eye witnesses to the accident who gave statements that they had stopped to help her, which included a tractor trailer driver and two others.  The two witnesses gave statements to the investigators for Brian Cunha & Associates that after observing the Plaintiff  hit the guardrail that they had pulled over and had their emergency flashers on.
The Law Offices of Brian Cunha & Associates on behalf of the Plaintiff filed suit and took the deposition of the defendant in this case who testified that he saw the tractor- trailer pulled over and he pulled into the high speed lane but never saw the claimant’s vehicle and struck her car.
The Plaintiff’s accident reconstructionist opined that the defendant was going too fast and there was enough room for him to pass the Plaintiff in the right hand lane.
The arbitration was held before Robert J. Berks on October 22, 2010 at Commonwealth Mediation in Brockton, MA.  The Plaintiff had the accident reconstructionist testify, as well as the Plaintiff and the defendant. Affidavits of the eye witnesses were also submitted in evidence.
After hearing, the Arbitrator found that the Defendant was traveling too fast for the conditions, could have passed the disabled car on the right and should have slowed down when he saw the hazard lights of the vehicles that had pulled over to aid the Plaintiff.
The arbitrator found the Defendant 100% at fault and rendered his award on November 4, 2010.

10/1/10 $450,000.00 Settlement: Medical Malpractice Failure to Supervise Elderly Patient:

On July 5, 2007, the plaintiff, age 79, enrolled in an adult day care program at a facility located in New Bedford, MA. The plaintiff entered into the program to partake in physical and occupational therapy so as to improve his medical condition which had been complicated by a stroke. As a result of the stroke, the plaintiff ambulated with a walker and required a staff member to assist him at all times. The staff was also aware that the plaintiff had a propensity to get up and walk on his own.

On August 10, 2007, during a bingo game, the plaintiff got up from his chair and took several steps, unnoticed, before striking a wall, causing personal injuries. As he was falling, a staff member grabbed him by his belt and attempted, unsuccessfully, to prevent him from hitting the ground.

Brian Cunha & Associates, attorneys for the plaintiff, filed a malpractice claim on his behalf alleging in the malpractice lawsuit that as a result of the fall, the plaintiff sustained a fractured rib and ruptured spleen which required surgery and a lengthy hospitalization.

Brian Cunha & Associates alleged that the adult day care facility committed malpractice when they failed to provide sufficient staff to monitor patients; failed to provide a gait belt so that staff could have properly grabbed him prior to his fall; failed to provide an alarm on his chair so that they could be alerted when he attempted to get up and walk; and, failed to instruct their staff on how to assist a patient when they are falling. On the eve of arbitration, Brian Cunha & Associates settled the case for the plaintiff in the amount of $450,000.00.

  • 8/01/10 Settlement: Station Fire:

The 17 Plaintiffs represented by Brian Cunha & Associates have received their initial payments in excess of $5,500,000.00 from the Rhode Island station fire settlement. The remaining funds were paid in September 2010 bringing the case to a successful close.

  • 5/21/10 $600,000 Settlement: Pedestrian/Motor Vehicle Accident:

The female Plaintiff,45, was injured on December 21, 2004,when she was struck by a vehicle that had been rear-ended by a rental vehicle, while crossing Diamond Hill Road in Woonsocket R.I. on her way to work.As a result of the accident the Plaintiff was transported to Landmark Medical Center, which examination revealed a fracture of both legs. The plaintiff underwent surgery of her left tibial plateau fracture on December 22,2004. In addition the Plaintiff had followup with a number of Doctors and Physical therapy for her injuries.The Plaintiff participated in three mediations in an attempt to settle the claim, including Commonwealth Mediation in Brockton Massachusetts, Court annexed arbitration in Providence and a mediation with the Providence trial court a week before the start of trial. The case was settled the day before trial was to begin.

  • 1/20/10 $340,000 Settlement: Cargo Van Strikes Bridge:

In July 2007,the plaintiffs, a mother and three children, were traveling in a mini-van on the access road to Route 46 in Lincoln Rhode Island. At the same time, at the 295 North overpass, the top of the Defendant’s cargo container truck, traveling on 146, adjacent to the access road, struck the route 295 overpass bridge, ripping off the roof of the truck, causing it to be dislodged from the flatbed trailer and fall on top of the Plaintiff’s vehicle, crushing the vehicle.Miraculously, the children sustained only minor injuries and the mother sustained an injury to her right knee requiring arthroscopic surgery.The plaintiff retained Brian Cunha & Associates who determined that the container truck was in violation of the maximum height requirements under RI law and the rules and regulations of the Department of Transportation, in that it exceeded the maximum height of 13’8″, causing the cargo container to strike the overpass. The case settled just prior to trial.

  • 2/15/2010 $805,000 Settlement: Drunk Driver Strikes Pedestrian After Leaving Bar:

The Plaintiff, female, 61, was seriously injured, causing the loss of her right leg, in East Boston at approximately 9:00 PM, in August 2004, while unloading packages from the trunk of an automobile in which she had been a passenger.The plaintiff was struck, causing her yo be pinned to the rear of the vehicle, by a 100 pound 46 year old intoxicated female, who had just left a local restaurant/bar where she had consumed approximately 3-4 glasses of wine over a period of 1-1 1/2 hours.The Driver was arrested at the scene and subsequently convicted of driving under the influence and sentenced to serve 5 1/2 year in prison.The case was originally handled by a law firm from Boston that filed suit against the intoxicated driver,who had a minimal insurance policy and the driver of the car in which plaintiff had been a passenger, who also had a minimal insurance policy. The Boston firm, however failed to sue the bar in which the driver had become intoxicated.In October 2008, shortly before trial was scheduled to start, the plaintiff chose to discharge the Boston firm and retained Brian Cunha & Associates to represent her in her claim.Although the statute of limitations had run against the bar, our office immediately, sought to add the bar as a Defendant. Although, strongly opposed by counsel for the bar, our office was able to convince the trial judge to allow us to add the bar as a Defendant in the case.

Depositions of their personnel and owners of the bar were taken, however due to the delay in adding the bar, there was a significant time gap and loss of crucial information.

The case was subsequently mediated at Commonwealth Mediation in Brockton Massachusetts, before retired chief Judge Suzanne Del Vecchio and the case settled after a full day session.

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