Settlements & Verdicts 2011

12/15/11  SETTLEMENT:  $96,000.00 – Dog bite on lower leg

On Sunday, July 4, 2010, at approximately 9:00 p.m., our client, a 32-year-old male, was a guest attending a pool party at a private home in Smithfield, R.I. This Fourth of July party was taking place around the homeowner’s in ground swimming pool in his backyard. The client noticed there were two large dogs allowed to wander unrestricted around the party all day. During the party, our client watched the homeowner throw various party guests into his swimming pool. Just after throwing a female guest into the pool, when the homeowner was standing next to the edge of his pool, our client pushed him into the water. When he did so, the homeowner’s large Bull Mastiff dog, ran up to our client and bit him hard above his left ankle causing a flap laceration of his lower left calf. Our client jumped into the swimming pool to get away from the dog. That evening another guest at the party drove him to the emergency room at Rhode Island Hospital where his wounds were cleaned and bandaged and he was given a tetanus shot. Despite this treatment, the wound became infected. During a follow up visit with his regular physician he was instructed by his doctor to go to Fatima Hospital to be admitted for treatment of cellutitis.  The client was left with a  scar on the back of his lower left leg.

Rhode Island General Laws 4-13-16 entitled, ACTION FOR DAMAGES TO ANIMALS makes the owner of any dog who injures or kills another domestic animal or person while travelling on the street or out of the enclosure of the owner or keeper of the dog, strictly liable for any damages caused by their dog. If afterwards that same dog bites another person, the dog owner or keeper is liable to the injured person for twice their actual damages.

12/9/11 Settlement:  $170,000.00  Pedestrian hit by car as she crossed the street

On August 13, 2010, at approximately 2:45 p.m., the Plaintiff, Paula, 54 , left her job at Applebee’s Restaurant, which is located on the Easterly side of West Main Road in Middletown, Rhode Island. (Ms. Martin intended to cross West Main Road in order to get the bus on the opposite side of the street) As Ms. Martin began to cross West Main Road, the traffic in the two northbound lanes and the first southbound lane stopped to allow her to cross, however, as she reached the slow speed southbound lanes, a vehicle operated in the slow speed lane, by the Defendant George,  struck her right leg causing her to land on the roadway.

 Upon arrival of the Middletown EMS, the Plaintiff was found lying in the street with severe right femur fracture, abrasions to her right side, lower back and right eye.  Traction was placed onto her right lower leg, a C-collar was placed and Morphine started and she was transported to Newport Hospital for further evaluation and treatment of her injuries.

Upon arrival in the Newport Hospital emergency room department, she was treated, however, because of the fracture, and the probable necessity for surgery, the plaintiff was transferred to Rhode Island Hospital.

On August 14, 2010, the day after admission to Rhode Island Hospital, the Plaintiff, underwent surgery involving fixation of her right femur.

The Plaintiff retained Brian Cunha & Associates to represent her in this case and suit was filed. From the outset, the Defendant denied liability, claiming that the accident was solely the fault of the Plaintiff, who they claimed had darted in front of the Defendants auto.

The case was particlarly challenging as the Middletown police officers, who had responded to the scene of the accident, had obtained statements from five witnesses, all of whom stated that the Plaintiff appeared to cross the street in front of the Defendants vehicle without looking. Furthermore, the insurer accurately claimed that there was a cross-walk available, to cross the street, a couple of hundred feet from where the plaintiff crossed. 

It was our argument that the Plaintiff was able to safely cross three traffic lanes prior to being struck by the defendant and that the driver in the southbound lane of traffic had actually stopped for the plaintiff and waived her across in front of her vehicle. We further claimed that had the defendant been paying attention, he should have observed the plaintiff crossing the first three lanes of travel that she safely crossed and stopped without striking her.

Further evidence of Defendant’s negligence, we claimed, was the distance that the plaintiff was thrown after being hit, the severity of her injuries, which was evidence that the defendant was likely exceeding the speed limit and that he was  passing on the right of the stopped vehicle, which is prohibited under Rhode Island law unless it can be done safely.

 But the best and most surprising- helpful evidence occured at the Defendants deposition, when, during routine questioning of the Defendants bacground, it was learned that the defendant was schizophrenic with severe mental illness, and had, at best, a marginal grasp of reality. After learning of the Defendants schizophrenia, plaintiffs counsel, Brian Cunha, questioned the Defendant in depth about his illness; what he learned was startling. For instance, it was learned that he was delusional; that he had been treated, medicated and hospitalized for his mental illness, since Vietnam, for the past 30 or more years; and most importantly,  on the date of the accident, he was taking his anti-psychotic medicine and hallucinating, claiming that he speaks daily with President Reagan’s daughter, including that day!

Based on the above, and despite statements from the eyewitnesses, Attorney Brian Cunha was able to convince the insurer to paticipate in a mediation to attempt to settle the case.  The case was settled several weeks later during  a mediation with Attorney Bill Poore, a Providence mediator and the Defendant insurance company.  

12/5/11  Settlement:  $150,000.00 – Slip and Fall on icy Storm drain in parking lot

By way of background, the plaintiff, James, 55, worked as a self-employed truck mechanic for his own company, Truck Master Repair. The Plaintiff was first employed by, a distribution company located in Wareham, Massachusetts in 2006, to repair their Dunkin Donut’s delivery trucks. The Plaintiff serviced between 9 and 10 trucks and was generally on the premises on a daily basis and usually parked his truck at the end of the building. The Plaintiff would then go about his business and do his work on the various trucks, which were usually located in a number of different locations in the parking lot.

      On January 31, 2008, the Plaintiff arrived at the distributors company at approximately 11:00 A.M. to perform mechanical work on two of their trucks. The Plaintiff parked in his usual location and picked up a file folder on the door to determine what work he was to perform that day. There was snow and ice throughout the parking lot.

The Plaintiff walked from his parked his truck to the employee parking lot where the trucks that he was to work on that day were located. It was our claim that as he was returning from inspecting the trucks, he twisted his ankle on defective, cracked and sunken asphalt around a water catch basin, that was obscured by frozen snow and ice, causing him to fall, severely fracturing his right ankle. 

The Plaintiff, after several minutes, managed to get up and attempted to walk back to his truck. As he attempted to do so, an unidentified female good samaritan approached him and asked if she could help. He asked her to alert the workers inside the building and she walked inside of the building and alerted three employees of the defendant that the plaintiff was outside and injured. The three employees came out and assisted the plaintiff back to his truck, where an ambulance arrived and took the plaintiff to the hospital. Both witnesses have testified that they first encountered the plaintiff several feet from the water catch basin.

Liability was highly contested by the insurer, who disputed where the Plaintiff claims to have fallen, claiming that several days after the accident the plaintiff told the manager of the facility that he had fallen in the parking lot in a different location than that of the storm drain. The Insurer also argued that even if the Plaintiff had fallen where he claims to have fallen, that he was familiar with the parking lot and should have been aware of the location of the storm drain and could easily have walked around it, but instead, either was’nt watching where he was going or intentionally walked on top of the drain.

The Plaintiff retained Brian Cunha & Associates to represent him in the case, suit was filed and depositions of the various witnesses in preperation for trial were taken.

Importantly, during discovery, Attorney Brian Cunha personally met with two female employees, who were no longer employed by the Defendant, that first encountered the Plaintiff in the parking lot. They were able to identify where they first saw the Plaintiff, which was just several feet from the storm drain, which contradicted the general managers claim that the plaintiff told him that he had fallen in a different location.

Despite having a strong defense on liability, the case settled favorably at a mediation approximately two weeks prior to trial.

10/12/11 Settlement: $145,000- Car Accident/Neck Injury

The plaintiff, male operator of his automobile, was stopped at a red light on Route 6 in Seekonk, Massachusetts when he was struck in the rear by the Defendant’s vehicle. The accident was relatively modest. The plaintiff suffered injuries to his neck and back, which at first were diagnosed as a sprain/strain. 

The Plaintiff then retained attorney Richard Gallone from Brian Cunha & Associates to represent him in his personal injury suit. 

The plaintiff underwent a period of conservative treatment, physical therapy, and chiropractic care that did not alleviate his pain. His doctor ordered an MRI scan of his neck, which revealed arthritis and a herniated disc and he was referred to a specialist for further treatment. The specialist recommended surgery which he underwent and was followed by several months of physical therapy. 

During the initial settlement negotiations the insurer refused to pay the defendants $50,000 policy limit, claiming that the plaintiff had underlying degenerative changes (arthritis) and they were not responsible for the herniated disc, as it was caused by the arthritis and not the accident. 

Through the skillful use of the MRI films and other medical records Attorney Gallone was not only able to convince the insurer to pay its $50,000 policy limit, but also convinced the two additional automobile insurers, to pay their under-insured policy limits in full as well. 

The key to the settlement of this case was the wise use of the MRI films, which, unlike xrays that only show the bones, demonstrate soft tissue injuries ( including the vertebral discs ). With good use of the MRI films, Attorney Gallone was able to retain an expert whose report convinced the three insurers that the Plaintiffs disc problems were from the accident and not the arthritic changes in his neck. 

All potential plaintiffs should be aware that if you are in an accident in which you have injured your neck or back that you should endeavor to have your doctor order an MRI. Not only will the MRI clarify your injuries, but it will also provide useful information to you regarding any disease processes that may have been aggravated by the accident 

9/10/11 Settlement: $90,000- Dog Bite – Minor Child

The minor female child, 4, was visiting a neighbor in New Bedford, Massachusetts with her adoptive mother, for dinner. While the parents were enjoying dinner, the plaintiff and the defendants two minor children were playing in an adjacent room with the Defendant’s dog. However, without warning the dog bit the minor child on her cheek, requiring 9 stitches. Although the wound looked very serious at the time, the minor child recovered very nicely with no visible scar, other than mild redness.

The mother retained Brian Cunha & Associates to represent her child in this case.  The case settled after a mediation with Paul Finn at Commonwealth Mediation in Brockton, Massachusetts. 

The lesson to be learned from this case was the importance of obtaining photos immediately, as this was the single biggest factor in convincing the insurance company to pay the amount that they did 

7/14/11 Settlement: $190,000- Workers Compensation – Back Injury

Approximately 10 years ago, the employee,  69, slipped and fell at this job, injuring his hip and low back.  He was initially diagnosed with a strain and was treated conservatively with medications and physical therapy.  When his symptoms did not improve, he underwent an MRI and was found to have a disc herniation in his lower back.  After several more months of conservative care and no improvement in his complaints, he underwent back surgery. 

Thereafter, he had some, but not complete improvement and continued to received medical care for pain relief. 

In 2001, during the course of his medical treatment, the employee retained the services of Brian Cunha & Associates to pursue  his claims and the employee was paid full weekly workers compensation benefits. 

In 2004, three years from the date of his original injury, the insurer filed a request with the Industrial Accidents Board seeking permission to reduce or discontinue payment of the employee’s benefits. 

Attorney Honey Polner from Brian Cunha & Associates filed a claim to obtain permanent total disability benefits. Both the insurer’s request for reduction or termination of benefits and the employee’s claims for permanent total disability benefits were heard by the Court at the same time.  The Court ordered payment of permanent total disability benefits in the amount of approximately $400.00 per week, which the employee continued to receive in an ongoing basis from 2004 through the date of settlement. 

In 2011, Attorney Honey Polner entered into settlement negotiations with the insurer.  Under the settlement reached, Attorney Honey Polner negotiated a settlement of $190,000.00, which was equivalent to approximately 9 years of future weekly worker’s compensation benefits. 

In addition, the employee would receive his full Social Security Retirement benefit,  which has been reduced due to his weekly worker’s compensation payments and his related medical bills would be paid for by the worker’s compensation insurer for the remainder of his life. 

6/16/11  Settlement: $417,000 Workers Compensation -Complex pain syndrome

The female employee,  40, was employed as a welder when a box fell from a shelf and struck her shoulder and neck in May of 1997. the employee  hired Brian Cunha & Associates to represent her in her workers compensation claim against her employers insurance company. 

She subsequently developed a complex mix of symptoms that led multiple doctors to arrive at different diagnoses.  The employee underwent surgery on both wrists, and elbow surgery but continued to be symptomatic. 

By 2003, after consulting and treating with at least 16 doctors, she was finally diagnosed with a highly unusual problem called complex regional pain syndrome.  During this time, the workers compensation insurer frequently denied payment of medical bills and challenged her need for the treatment of its relationship to her work injury.  She had also applied for and was receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits which was reduced by the amount of  benefits she was receiving from workers compensation. 

Following the initial injury, the employee had been represented by three different attorneys, who were unsuccessful in resolving her case.  After getting the diagnosis of complex regional pain syndrome, she transferred her representation to Brian Cunha & Associates. 

Attorney Honey Polner  filed a claim with the Department of Industrial Accidents to obtain permanent total disability status and won the trial. 

The employee continued to require treatment for her diagnosed complex regional pain syndrome and the insurer continued to challenge or deny payment for that treatment.  Each time, Attorney Polner successfully pursued payment, either by convincing the insurer to pay, or by filing multiple claims against the insurance company in the Department of Industrial Accident’s Court. 

Attorney Polner also determined the employee was no longer subject to an offset  of her Social Security Disability Benefits and obtained cost of living increases from the worker’s compensation insurer. 

The employee continued to receive total disability benefits, however after extensive negotiations,  her case settled.  Following settlement in the amount of $417,000.00, her related medical bills will continue to be paid for by the worker’s compensation insurer.  The settlement amount represents 17  years of future weekly benefits. 

6-1-11 Settlement: $150,000.00 Workers Compensation – Back Injury

The employee, 59, in July of 2005  injured his back lifting equipment at his job in a Fall River factory.  He was diagnosed with a herniated lumbar disc and surgery was recommended,  but other health problems prevented the surgery from taking place. 

The Plaintiff retained Brian Cunha & Associates and his employer’s workers’ compensation insurer promptly began paying his weekly temporary total disability and his medical care. Thereafter,  through the efforts of Brian Cunha & Associates,  in addition to receiving workers compensation benefits,  the employee also received Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. 

However, the insurer stopped paying his weekly payments when the three year Massachusetts payment limit for workers compensation was reached.  The insurer made no offer to make additional disability payments, either for total disability or partial disability, which would have paid the employee at a lower weekly compensation rate. 

Brian Cunha & Associates filed a claim for permanent total disability benefits. The case went to trial and after the Department of Industrial Accidents’  Judge ordered the insurer to pay the claimed benefits, through the efforts of Brian Cunha & Associates the employee’s Social Security Disability Insurance benefits were changed to retirement benefits,allowed the employee to receive both retirement benefits and workers compensation at the same time. 

Attorney Honey Polner then entered into settlement negotiations with the insurer.  Under the settlement reached, the employee would continue receiving his full Social Security  Retirement benefits, his related medical bills would continue to be paid for by the workers’ compensation insurer and the insurer’ settlement offer of  $150,000.00 which was equivalent to 9 1/2 years of future weekly workers’ compensation benefits was accepted. 

5/6/11  Settlement: $70,000  Car Accident- Knee injury

On October 3,2009, the plaintiff, 34, struck the left rear panel of the Defendants automobile with the front of his vehicle, on Cape Cod, in Barnstable Massachusetts. The Plaintiff claimed that the defendant failed to stop at a stop line at the intersection of the two intersecting streets resulting in the collision.The Plaintiff sustained an injury to his  right knee requiring arthroscopic repair of his medial meniscus. The Plaintiff, a triathlete, made an excellent recovery and participated in a triatalon in 2010 posting better times than prior to his knee injury. 

The Defendant insurance company claimed that there was no stop sign, that the stop line was not visible, that the Defendant entered the intersection first, the Plaintiff struck the rear of  the Defendants automobile and the Plaintiff was speeding. Finally, the Defendant claimed that the type of injury that the plaintiff sustained was more likely due to his activities as a tri-athlete than the automobile accident. 

The Plaintiff retained the Law Office of Brian Cunha & Associates to represent him in his case.  Discovery conducted by Brian Cunha & Associates in the case revealed that the Defendant and his passengers were on Cape Cod to attend a wedding and had been celebrating in their rental rooms prior to setting out for the wedding and reception. the Plaintiff was also able to prove that the plaintiff had little or no time or ability to stop or avoid the Defendant. 

The case settled during extensive negotiations with the insurer for $70,000, after Attorney Brian Cunha was able to convince the insurer that the Defendant was 100% at fault and that the Plaintiff’s injuries were related to the accident and not some other cause. The case settled shortly after the trial judge assigned a trial date. 

4/28/11  Jury Verdict: $120,000

Barboza v. Lord Phillip Condominiums, New Bedford Superior Court,  Massachusetts – Fire Escape Stairs collapse causing tenant injuries.

On October 9, 2007, the Plaintiff, Gus Barboza, 42, was injured when the top two stairs of the fire escape that served as his legal alternate second means of ingress and egress to his efficiency condo collapsed. Mr Barboza plummeted approximately 15 feet to the ground, where he experienced pain in his legs, neck and back. He was transported to  St Lukes Hospital in New Bedford, where a series of tests and x-rays were taken all of which were negative for any fractures or serious internal injuries. Mr. Barboza, nevertheless continued to experience muscle pain in a number of parts of his body, which he claimed disabled him from his usual work as an auto window tinter. Over the next two years  he sought the advice and treated with several chiropractors and physicians, all of whom diagnosed him as only having sustained soft tissue injuries. 

In addition, in February 2008, Mr Barboza sought the help of a physician from the pain clinic in New Bedford who diagnosed him as suffering from myofascial pain syndrome, a disorder of the muscles that is real, though not widely understood. Over the next year and one-half Mr Barboza underwent an extensive physical therapy program that included physical therapy, weight lifting and aquatic therapy to treat this disorder. 

The insurer for Lord Phillip Condominiums denied liability and damages and the Plaintiff retained Brian Cunha & Associates to represent him in his claim against the condo association for his injuries. 

Attorney Brian Cunha with the assistance of his partner Attorney Nelia DeStefano was able, through discovery, to learn that the fire escapes in the condo complex were so rusty and in such poor shape that the welds that held the stairs to the side supports had rusted away causing the stairs to Mr Barbozas’ unit collapse. Attorney Brian Cunha also learned that although warned by a state inspector in 2003 that routine inspection of the fire escapes was required , that the warning was ignored and little was done to inspect, maintain or repair the fire escapes at the condo complex until after the Plaintiffs 2007 accident. 

The most serious area of contention between the parties was the seriousness of the Plaintiffs injuries. The attorneys defending the Condo complex claimed that Mr. Barboza only sustained minor soft tissue injuries; that he should have been back to work within 4-6 weeks ; that he was doing push-ups and weight lifting within a month of the accident;  that his medical treatment was excessive and unnecessary; that any disability that he may have suffered was minimal and that he was a malingerer. 

The case proceeded to trial on April 26,2011. The Plaintiff was represented by Attorney Brian Cunha and co-counsel Karen Alegria. At the conclusion of a three day trial the jury rendered a verdict in Mr Barboza’s favor, finding that the Condo complex and its trustees were negligent causing Mr Barboza’s injuries and awarded him $120,00.00, which, with interest, will be in excess of $144,000.00. 

The key to the success in winning a soft tissue injury case such as this, where there was no objective evidence of any injury, was the testimony of Mr. Barboza and his physician, who were able to convince the jury that Mr Barboza was truly in pain and disabled due to the Myofascial Pain Syndrome caused by the fall and negligence of Lord Phillps Condominiums. The claims of malingering were soundly rejected by the jury and the jury awarded  justice for a true victim. 

4/12/11 Settlement: $80,000  Tenant Shot in Hallway of his apartment by unknown assailant

By way of background, the Plaintiff,34, had leased an apartment from the defendants with his girlfriend in 2007 in Taunton, Massachusetts.  The plaintiff, prior to the incident in which he was shot, had notified  the landlord that the lock on the front door to the premises was missing and not operable. The landlord spoke with the plaintiff and asked the plaintiff if he would be willing to replace the lock on the front door and supplied the plaintiff with a lock.  The plaintiff attempted to  install the lock, however, he was not successful in doing so. The Plaintiff  notified the landlord that he was unable to install the lock.  The Defendant disputed this claim. The landlord failed to make any attempt to install the lock or arrange for a contractor to do so. 

On  November 25, 2008, the plaintiff, went out with one of his friends to play pool.  He returned to the house at approximately 1:00 a.m. and when he entered the front door, there were two persons in the hallway that accosted and shot him. The plaintiff was taken by ambulance to the hospital.At Morton Hospital emergency room, it was determined that a bullet had pierced his back and gone through his chest requiring surgery.  A chest tube was inserted due to the collapsed lung sustained as a result of the gunshot. 

After the incident, the plaintiff met with the Taunton Police Detectives. The serious and problematic issue in the case was that the plaintiff does not have any explanation as to why the assailants were at his house or why he was shot. 

Nevertheless Brian Cunha & Associates were able to convince the insurer and their attorneys  that, although disputed, the defendants failed to provide a safe environment for their tenants in that they allowed a foreseeably dangerous and/or hazardous condition to exist on their property by failing to place a lock on the front door to the property. The case settled during a mediation before Attorney Mark Karsner in Taunton, Massachusetts 

3-29-11  $172,000 Settlement: Delivery Driver drops Hot Tub on homeowner.

The plaintiff, 55, ordered a new hot tub that was delivered to his home  in North Kingston Rhode Island on March 23, 2010. On the date of delivery the delivery service truck driver asked the homeowner if he would assist him in unloading the hot tub from the delivery truck. The plaintiff obliged. The truck driver instructed the plaintiff to balance the end of the tub as he lowered the tub on the lift gate, however, without warning, the driver unexpectedly lowered the lift gate, causing the tub to shift, causing  its entire weight to shift onto plaintiffs arms. The Plaintiff suffered bi-lateral tearing of the muscles on both biceps requiring surgery. 

The Plaintiff retained Brian Cunha & Associates, who filed suit in the Federal District Court in Rhode Island. The Defendant defended the case by stating that the Plaintiff was a willing participant and assumed the risk of injury. Brian Cunha was able to convince the attorney representing the Defendant that there was liability. The case settled the day before a settlement conference that had been scheduled by the court in the Rhode Island Federal Court, just prior to trial. 

3-18-11  $200,000 Settlement: Minor rear end collision results in back injury settlement

The  plaintiff, 42, was operating her motor vehicle on the on ramp to Route 195 West in East Providence, R.I. Her vehicle was completely stopped at a yield sign waiting for a break in traffic before she could merge onto Route 195 when she was struck from behind by the Defendant motorist traveling at a very low speed. There was no  visible damage to either vehicle. 

Following the collision, the plaintiff/driver developed pain in her left shoulder, neck and low back. She was first checked out in the emergency room of a local area hospital and then she received treatment from a chiropractor. Because her low back pain was not improving and the pain started radiating into her leg, she went to an orthopedic specialist who tried several different treatment methods to alleviate her low back pain. After physical therapy, medications and injections were not successful the plaintiff agreed to lumbar surgery. Following surgery the plaintiff’s condition improved. 

The Plaintiff retained  Attorney Richard Gallone from Brian Cunha & Associates to represent her in the case. From the outset the biggest hurdle was to prove to the insurer that the Plaintiffs injuries were related  to this minor accident with little or no property damage to the vehicles. Toward that end, Brian Cunha & Associates secured medical experts who opined that the injuries claimed were indeed related to the accident. After extensive litigation, the defendant driver’s automobile insurance company agreed to pay its $100,000 bodily injury policy limit to our client. 

Following this recovery, Brian Cunha & Associates pursued a claim for additional compensation for our client under the Underinsured Motorist provisions in her own automobile insurance policy. 

After many negotiations, Richard Gallone, from Brian Cunha & Associates, convinced our client’s automobile insurance company to pay their $100,000 underinsured policy limit, so our client received an additional $100,000 recovery. 

3/14/11 $115,000 Settlement: Deck railing collapse

In May 2008, the female plaintiff, 43, worked as a school bus driver in Fall River, Massachusetts.  On the date of her injury, between runs, she and two other employees were on a deck adjacent to the employer’s office; one of the other individuals was seated on the railing of the deck.  As he and the plaintiff/employee were engaged in an argument, the railing broke loose and both fell to the ground.  The plaintiff suffered a fracture  to both legs. 

The workers compensation insurer for the employer consistently challenged liability and denied her claims for benefits, claiming that she was engaged in horseplay at the time and therefore they were not responsible for payment of her medical expenses or weekly benefits.  She retained Brian Cunha & Associates, who filed a claim against her employer for  her weekly benefits and medical expenses, which our office was successful in securing for her. 

At the same time her workers’ compensation claims were being pursued through the Department of Industrial Accidents, a civil claim was filed by Brian Cunha & Associates against the uninsured owner of the building housing her employer’s offices.  The employee/plaintiff through Brian Cunha & Associates alleged the owner was negligent in maintaining the deck in a dangerous condition. Further complicating the case was the fact that the owner of the building did not have liability insurance. 

It was anticipated that at trial the owner/defendant would allege it was the employee’s own negligence which led to her injuries.  In the week prior to the start of the trial, the parties agreed to a “global” settlement which resolved both the workers compensation claims and the civil action claims.
Here, where the outcomes of both the workers’ compensation claims and the civil action remained uncertain, the final resolution guaranteed medical coverage for life for her future medical treatment.
By the terms of the settlement, the employee was able to obtain the following terms and concessions from the workers’ compensation insurer.  The workers compensation insurer accepted liability and in so doing agreed to pay for all ongoing and future medical bills.  It agreed to waive its right to receive a portion of any monies the employee received from the defendant building owner. 

Finally, Brian Cunha & Associates was able to have the workers compensation insurer agree to pay the employee $65,000.00.  Our office negotiated  an additional $50,000.00 from the uninsured defendant building owner. 

2/5/11 $125,000 Settlement: Homeowners Policy – 56 year old woman guest falls in hole cut in floor for stairway without guardrail.

The Plaintiff, 56, was visiting the home of an elderly gentleman for the purpose of providing home nursing services and equipment to him. While waiting for him she was directed to another room to view the property. As she walked to the window she fell through a hole cut in the floor that accessed the basement. The Defendant had failed to provide guardrails around the opening of the hole or to provide the plaintiff with any warning that the hole and staircase existed. The Plaintiff struck her head but there was no obvious long term effect. The Defendant claimed that the opening in the floor was obvious and had she been paying attention would not have fallen and that her head injury if any was minor. 

The Plaintiff retained Brian Cunha & Associates to represent her in the case. Aside from proving negligence the biggest obstacle to resolving the case was proof of the head injury.  Toward that end Brian Cunha & Associates retained a neuro- psych expert and had the plaintiff undergo an examination that lasted two days. Upon receipt of the report that indicated that the Plaintiff had been injured as we had claimed. Defendants settled the case with Brian Cunha & Associates a week before trial. 

1/20/11 $130,000 Settlement: 13 year old Bicyclist hit by car

On 12/30/09, the plaintiff, 13, was riding his bicycle on Newton Street in Fall River Massachusetts. At the intersection of Newton Street and Marianno Bishop Boulevard the young boy attempted to cross the street when he was struck by the defendants motor vehicle resulting in a fractured leg. The fall River Police were summoned, but no citations were issued to the driver of the car as he claimed that the boy darted out in front of him and he had no time to stop before hitting him. 

The plaintiff retained the Law Offices of Brian Cunha & Associates to represent him in the case. Attorney Karen Alegria was able to obtain statements from eyewitnesses that were not interviewed by the police who claimed that the Defendant was travelling at an excessive rate of speed. Attorney Alegria was able to convince the insurance adjuster that but for the speed of the Defendants vehicle that the accident would not have occurred and the case settled.

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