Case ResultsAt the Law Offices of Howard Kitay, we have successfully handled thousands of San Diego personal injury cases over twenty years.
$7.5 Million Dollar Jury Verdict to Motorcyclist for Pain and Suffering
Attorneys Nicholas C. Rowley and Courtney Yoder, working together with attorneys Howard Kitay and other members of his law office, obtained a jury verdict of over 7.5 million dollars in El Cajon Superior Court on December 16, 2011.
The Plaintiff was an active duty sailor, 23 years old at the time he was injured. He had been married for one month and was about to leave on Westpac. He was driving his Harley Davidson motorcycle to work at the Submarine base in San Diego.
A shuttle van from a local auto dealership turned left in front of the motorcycle. The motorcycle struck the side of the van. The Plaintiff was thrown forward and hit his groin on the handlebars; he broke his pelvis and smashed his testicles. As a result of the collision, Plaintiff, now 27, has permanent injuries. He incurred $43,000.00 in medical bills and lost $10,000.00 in wages.
Plaintiff’s lawyers argued that the shuttle van violated Plaintiff’s right of way and was 100% at fault. The Defendant corporation hired an accident reconstruction expert who testified Plaintiff was speeding and not paying attention, and the collision was Plaintiff’s fault. The defense also argued Plaintiff’s injuries were exaggerated.
After a two week trial, the jury determined the corporate auto dealership was 100% at fault, and awarded Plaintiff $53,000.00 for medical bills and lost wages, and 7.5 million dollars for pain and suffering.
REAR-END AUTO COLLISION
On April 17, 2013, in the matter of Bean v. Otis Elevator Company, the jury awarded our client $1.2 million at trial in a rear-end automobile collision case.
$220,000.00 Jury Verdict For East County Man Injured When Car Turns Left in Front of Motorcycle
Attorney Howard Kitay obtained a $220,000.00 jury verdict for a Portrero man who was injured when a car turned left in front of his motorcycle. Mr. Kitay’s client sustained a mild traumatic brain injury and an injured hand.
The insurance company for the driver of the car insisted the motorcyclist was speeding, and that the crash was the motorcyclist’s fault. The driver of the car denied any fault for the crash. Howard Kitay filed suit in El Cajon Superior Court. The driver of the car continued to deny fault for the crash. At trial, Mr. Kitay presented expert testimony demonstrating the motorcycle was not speeding, and that the driver of the car failed to look before turning. After a five day trial, the jury found the defendant was negligent, and rendered a verdict for Mr. Kitay’s client in the sum of $220,000.00.
TOOL STORE ACCIDENT
$1,010,000.00 Settlement For Man Struck by Falling Box in Tool Store
Attorney Howard Kitay obtained a $1,010,000.00 settlement for a 41 year-old man who was struck by a falling box while shopping in a tool store in east San Diego.
The owner of the east San Diego tool store claimed that plaintiff assumed the risk of injury when plaintiff went to the aid of a store employee who lost his balance on a ladder. The store employee was attempting to remove a heavy box from a high shelf when he began to lose his balance. Seeing that the employee was in danger of falling, the plaintiff rushed over to steady the ladder. The plaintiff steadied the ladder and saved the employee from falling, but the heavy box fell on the plaintiff’s neck. The plaintiff sustained a head and neck injury in the accident.
The tool store argued that nobody asked the plaintiff for help, and, therefore, the plaintiff assumed the risk of the injury that resulted. The tool store refused to offer any money to settle the claim.
Howard Kitay filed a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court, East County Division, and demanded $1,010,000.00 to settle the claim. In preparing for trial, Mr. Kitay deposed every person in the store at the time, and proved that the employee on the ladder called out for help and plaintiff was the only person close enough to help him. The tool store then offered $500,000.00 to settle the claim. The $500,000.00 settlement offer was rejected.
Less than thirty days before trial, the tool store settled plaintiff’s case for $1,010,000.00.
The plaintiff sustained a bruise to his brain. Although he was at risk for seizures for a period of time after the accident, he made an excellent recovery, and eventually returned to full activity.
REAR END AUTO COLLISION
$100,000.00 Settlement in Rear-End Crash with Minimal Property Damage
Attorney Howard Kitay obtained a $100,000.00 settlement for a 52 year-old woman who was rear-ended while traveling east on Broadway, in El Cajon, California. Plaintiff sustained $713.85 in property damage to the rear of her 1998 Toyota Corolla.
Following the collision, the plaintiff, a Registered Nurse, drove herself to Kaiser Permanente Emergency Department complaining of neck pain. She was treated and released.
One month later, the plaintiff returned to Kaiser complaining of pain in her left shoulder. She was prescribed Naprosyn for pain, and eventually received physical therapy at Kaiser.
After physical therapy at Kaiser, the plaintiff consulted an orthopedic surgeon, who ordered an MRI. The MRI revealed a herniated disc in plaintiff’s neck. The orthopedic surgeon opined that plaintiff may require surgery in the future. Plaintiff’s medical bills totalled $4,043.00.
Howard Kitay filed a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court, East County Division, and demanded $100,000.00 to settle the claim. In preparing for trial, Mr. Kitay deposedthe defendant driver and all expert witnesses designated by the defendant. Defendant’s insurance company, Safeco, offered $2,500.00 to settle the claim. The $2,500.00 settlement offer was rejected.
Less than thirty days before trial, attorney Howard Kitay negotiated a $100,000.00 settlement for his client.
REAR END AUTO COLLISION
$100,000.00 Settlement in Rear-End Crash with Minimal Property Damage
Attorney Howard Kitay obtained a $100,000.00 settlement for a 45 year-old woman who was rear-ended while traveling west on Blossom in Spring Valley, California. Plaintiff sustained $479.73 in property damage to the rear of her 2000 Mazda 626. Following the collision, plaintiff went to Kaiser Permanente Emergency Department complaining of back and shoulder pain. She was treated and released.
Three days later, plaintiff presented at a local chiropractor complaining of neck pain and stiffness, lower back pain and stiffness, and numbness in both hands. She treated with the chiropractor, and later with Kaiser Permanente.
Plaintiff eventually had spine surgery at Kaiser Permanente. Her medical bills totaled $57,769.00. Attorney Howard Kitay negotiated a medical bill discount, so that plaintif’s medical bills were reduced to $2,750.00.
Howard Kitay filed a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court, East County Division, and demanded $100,000.00 to settle the claim. In preparing for trial, Mr. Kitay deposedthe responsible driver and designated expert medical witnesses to testify on plaintiff’s behalf. Defendant’s insurance company, Mercury Insurance, insisted that plaintiff sustained only minor soft-tissue injuries.
On the eve of trial, attorney Howard Kitay obtained a $100,000.00 settlement for his client. All of plaintiff’s medical bills were paid, and plaintiff received $55,537.55.
DOG BITES OWNER
$100,000.00 Settlement After Man Bitten by His Own Dog
Attorney Howard Kitay obtained a $100,000.00 settlement for a 41 year-old man who was bitten on the right hand by his own dog. Mr. Kitay’s client was visiting his sister’s house with his dog. A neighbor’s Rottweiler broke through a restraining fence and attacked the dog. Mr. Kitay’s client was standing between the two dogs, and, while trying to separate them, was bitten in the right hand by his own dog.
Following the attack, the man was treated in the Hospital Emergency Room, and required surgery on his hand. After the wound healed, the hand remained stiff, and it was difficult to make a fist. The medical bills were approximately $20,000.00.
Howard Kitay filed a claim with the Homeowners Insurance Company of the owner of the Rottweiler. The claim was denied. The insurance company said they were not responsible because the man was bitten by his own dog.
Howard Kitay filed a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court, East County Division, and demanded $100,000.00 to settle the claim. In preparing for trial, Mr. Kitay deposed the owners of the Rottweiler. At a court-ordered settlement conference, the judge agreed with Mr. Kitay and recommended the insurance company settle the case before trial. The insurance company refused.
On the eve of trial, the Homeowner’s Insurance Company agreed to pay the $100,000.00 policy limit to Mr. Kitay’s client.
SLIP AND FALL ON WET GRASS
$100,000.00 Settlement For Woman Who Slipped and Fell on Wet Grass
Attorney Howard Kitay obtained a $100,000.00 settlement for a 48 year-old woman who slipped and fell on wet grass while visiting a friend’s house. The owner of the San Diego home invited plaintiff to come into her backyard, which required walking down a ramp with a six-inch-wide “well-worn path.” While navigating the path, the plaintiff slipped and fell, fracturing her right ankle.
Plaintiff was taken to Sharp Cabrillo Hospital, where a complete examination was performed. X-rays revealed a fracture dislocation of the right ankle. Plaintiff was given intravenous Morphine for severe pain. The dislocation was then reduced and the ankle was placed in a splint. Immediately prior to release, plaintiff was given Percocet for increasing pain.
One week later, an open reduction internal fixation surgery of plaintiff’s right ankle was performed at Mercy Hospital. After surgery, plaintiff’s right ankle was placed in a splint. After healing, plaintiff underwent physical therapy to strengthen her ankle. Her medical bills totaled approximately $18.000.00.
Attorney Howard Kitay filed a claim with the homeowner’s insurance company, alleging the well-worn path was dangerous and defendant knew it was dangerous. The insurance company denied the claim, saying the accident was plaintiff’s fault and that the ‘well-worn-path’ was not dangerous. The insurance company refused to offer any money to settle the claim.
Attorney Howard Kitay filed a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court, East County Division, and demanded the homeowner’s policy limit of $100,000.00 to settle the claim. The insurance company again stated the accident was plaintiff’s fault and refused to offer any money to settle the claim.
Mr. Kitay prepared for trial. He retained an engineering expert who inspected the “well-worn path” and reported: “The ramp where [plaintiff] experienced a slip and fall accident was an excessively sloped ramp, without a slip-resistant surface or handrail. This is a violation of the Building Code … The slope of the ramp measures 36% which far exceeds the maximum permissible 12-1/2% slope of ramps.”
Mr. Kitay forwarded the engineering report to the insurance carrier, noting the violation of the building code and citing Jury Instruction BAJI 3.45: “If you find that a party to this action violated the Building Code just read to you and that such violation was a cause of injury to another, you will find that such violation was negligence.”
Notwithstanding the engineering report, the insurance company refused to settle the case, and hired their own expert to testify the well-worn path was not dangerous.
Mr. Kitay then deposed the homeowner, who testified she had warned the plaintiff to “be careful” on the well-worn path. In response to questions by Mr. Kitay, the homeowner admitted warning plaintiff to “be careful” because she knew the well-worn path was dangerous. One week later, the insurance company paid the $100,000.00 policy limit to plaintiff.
FALLING LIGHT FIXTURE
$45,000.00 Judgment For Man Struck by Falling Light Fixture In El Torito Restaurant
The Law Offices of Howard Kitay obtained a $45,000.00 Judgment for a Chula Vista man who was struck by a falling light fixture in an El Torito Restaurant. The insecurely attached light fixture came loose due to vibrations from loud disco music played in the bar area. The plaintiff sustained an injury to his shoulder, which eventually healed. He was evaluated in the Emergency Room, diagnosed by an orthopedic surgeon, and received physical therapy. His medical bills totaled $8300.00.
El Torito insisted the incident was not their fault, and refused to settle the case.
The Law Offices of Howard Kitay filed suit in San Diego Superior Court. At trial, El Torito again claimed the incident was not their fault, as they had no prior notice the fixture was loose. After a four day trial, the jury determined the fixture came loose as a result of the loud disco music, and that El Torito should have periodically checked to make sure the fixture was secure. Because they did not, the jury found El Torito negligent, and awarded plaintiff $45,000.00.
$125,000.00 SETTLEMENT FOR WOMAN WHO TRIPPED OVER SPEEDBUMP
Attorney Howard Kitay obtained a $125,000.00 settlement for a 75 year-old woman who tripped and fell over an unmarked speedbump while visiting her grandson.
Plaintiff was visiting her grandson’s apartment. The owner of the apartment building had repaved the parking lot three months before, but had not yet repainted the speedbumps. While walking across the parking lot, plaintiff tripped over the unmarked speedbump, extending her left hand to stop her fall. Plaintiff’s left wrist was injured in the fall.
Plaintiff was taken by ambulance to Grossmont Hospital complaining of severe left wrist pain, and was diagnosed with a left wrist fracture. Plaintiff underwent surgery to repair her left wrist and later received physical therapy. Plaintiff incurred medical bills of approximately $30,000.00.
Attorney Howard Kitay filed a claim with the apartment’s insurance company, alleging the unmarked speed bump was a dangerous condition on the property. He further alleged that the apartment management company had ample notice of the dangerous condition but failed to repair it. The insurance company denied the claim, saying the accident was plaintiff’s fault, that plaintiff’s vision was bad and she should have been looking where she was going. Attorney Kitay filed a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court, East County Division.
In preparing for trial, Mr. Kitay deposed the employees of the apartment management company, and established that the failure to repaint the speedbump was an oversight. Arguing that this oversight was negligence, Kitay asserted that the apartment management company was responsible for plaintiff’s injury. Mr. Kitay obtained records from plaintiff’s optometrist to establish that plaintiff’s vision was fine at the time of the incident, and did not contribute to or cause her fall.
Shortly before trial, the insurance company for the apartment management company agreed to settle plaintiff’s claim for $125,000.00.
$100,000.00 SETTLEMENT FOR WOMAN WHO FELL OFF ENTRY-WAY LANDING
Attorney Howard Kitay obtained a $100,000.00 settlement for a 68 year-old woman who fell off an entry-way landing while visiting a family friend’s house for the first time.
Plaintiff was led into the home through the garage. At the front entry there was a landing with one step down leading into the living room. In the dimly-lit entryway, the changing floor plane and step leading down into the living room were not clearly visible. As she was walking into the living room, plaintiff fell off the ledge, onto the hardwood floor. Breaking the fall with her left hand, plaintiff landed on her left hip, fracturing her left wrist and pelvis. She was rushed to the emergency room by ambulance.
Attorney Howard Kitay filed a claim with the homeowner’s insurance company, alleging the entry-way landing was dangerous and the homeowner should have made it safe or warned plaintiff of the danger. The insurance company denied the claim, saying the accident was plaintiff’s fault for not paying attention, and that no one else had ever fallen off the step. Attorney Kitay filed a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court.
Mr. Kitay prepared for trial. He retained an engineering expert who inspected the entry-way landing and reported that the condition of the premises on the date of the accident was in violation of several California Building Code and Architectural Graphic Standards designed to promote and enforce safety.
First, Architectural Graphic Standard [A](1)(a) pertaining to Optics and Lighting Design sets forth the importance of lighting in illuminating hazards. In this case, there existed a changing floor plane, which constituted a hazard. Plaintiff stepped down a distance of 5 and 5/8″ from the landing onto the floor below. Since the lighting was inadequate, the hazard was not illuminated, causing her to fall.
Second, the condition at the subject premises violated Architectural Graphic Standard [A](2) (pertaining to nosings and risers) and [A](3) (pertaining to treads, risers, and nosings). The Architectural Standards require a minimum sixty degree indent. In the present case, the risers were completely vertical, with no indent at all, in direct violation of the Standard.
The condition on the subject premises was also in violation of [B](1) of the California Building Code pertaining to risers and nosings. The risers and nosings at the subject property bore no resemblance to the specific requirements of the CBC, which standards were adopted to promote safety.
The California Building Code and Architectural Graphic Standards set forth specific requirements for the building, construction, and conditions of premises for the purpose of promoting safety. The condition of the subject premises did not comport with these safety standards and therefore posed a dangerous condition which directly resulted in injury to plaintiff. The dangerous condition of the premises constitutes negligence per se on the part of the homeowner, shifting the burden to defendant to prove that the condition was not a danger.
Finally, attorney Kitay deposed several of the occupants of the home, who confirmed they routinely cautioned visitors to “watch out for the step.” The homeowners admitted they routinely gave this warning because they knew the step presented a potential danger to visitors who were not familiar with it. In this case, plaintiff was not given the warning, which resulted in her falling off the step.
Following the accident, plaintiff was rushed via ambulance to Sharp Memorial Hospital, Emergency Department. X-ray of the left hip revealed fractures of the pubic superior and inferior ramus. X-ray of the left wrist revealed fracture of the distal radius with an associated ulnar styloid fracture. Plaintiff was fitted for a splint and given morphine. Plaintiff was unable to move her legs, walk, or bear any weight and was therefore discharged from the emergency department via ambulance directly to Villa Las Palmas nursing facility.
Plaintiff remained a resident of Villas Las Palmas for five weeks. Throughout the duration of her five-week in-patient stay, plaintiff used a walker and continued to experience a great deal of pelvic pain. She received direct nursing services, and underwent rehabilitation, pain management, and supportive therapy to increase mobility.
Despite the engineering report, the homeowner’s insurance company continued to deny the claim, hiring their own expert to say the lighting was adequate and that plaintiff should have seen the step. Finally, on the eve of trial, the insurance company agreed to settle plaintiff’s claim for $100,000.00.
$250,000.00 SETTLEMENT FOR 18 YEAR OLD IN VEHICLE COLLISION
Attorney Howard Kitay obtained a $250,000.00 settlement for an 18 year-old woman injured when an uninsured motorist turned left in front of her, causing an unavoidable collision.
Upon impact, plaintiff’s body was whipped violently backward and forward.
Following the collision, plaintiff was transported via ambulance to Grossmont Hospital complaining of right ankle pain and swelling. She was examined in the E.R., and diagnosed with a “right ankle bi-malleolar fracture.” Plaintiff underwent a right ankle open reduction internal fixation, which included placement of two screws. As a result, plaintiff sustained permanent scarring to her right ankle. After surgery, plaintiff underwent physical therapy, which consisted of electrical stimulation, soft tissue massage, supervised self exercise, and therapeutic exercise. Plaintiff’s medical bills were approximately $19,000.00.
Plaintiff was left with permanent right ankle limitations with respect to range of motion and strength. She also has permanent right ankle stiffness and swelling. Attorney Kitay initiated an uninsured motorist claim on behalf of plaintiff, which eventually settled for $250,000.00.
$1,010,000.00 SETTLEMENT FOR SAN DIEGO MAN INJURED IN HEAD-ON COLLISION IN MEXICO
Attorney Howard Kitay obtained a $1,010,000.00 settlement for a San Diego Man injured in Mexico when another driver, also a United States citizen, crossed the center line at a high rate of speed causing a head-on collision.
Immediately following the accident, the San Diego man was transported to El Centro Regional Medical Center, where he was life-flighted to UCSD Medical Center. On the way to UCSD Medical Center, he suffered a myocardial infarction. In all, he was hospitalized thirty days, sustained significant injuries and underwent numerous procedures.
Despite his extensive injuries, he was eventually able to walk out of the hospital and resume his life. His medical bills exceeded $200,000.00. Unfortunately, he was left with permanent neck, shoulder and back pain, and may require surgery in the future.
Attorney Howard Kitay filed a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court, which eventually settled for the policy limit: $1,010,000.00.
$305,000.00 REAR-END COLLISION AND PRE-EXISTING CONDITION SETTLEMENT
Attorney Howard Kitay obtained a $305,000.00 settlement for a 49 year-old San Diego woman injured on Interstate 15, when she slightly bumped the car in front of her, came to a complete stop, and was then forcibly hit from behind by an underinsured motorist.
Plaintiff was driving her Toyota Camry northbound on Interstate 15, in San Diego, California. Slowing for traffic, she slightly bumped the car in front of her. Plaintiff was at a complete stop when forcibly hit from behind by an underinsured motorist. The Camry sustained $3300.00 in property damage.
Prior to this accident, plaintiff. a 49-year-old woman, had a history of scoliosis which required placement of a Harrington rod when she was much younger. She also suffered from stenosis in the lower back and was undergoing evaluation for that condition. All of these factors made plaintiff more susceptible to injury in this collision.
Immediately following the collision plaintiff presented at Kaiser Permanente complaining of wrist, neck and upper back pain. She was examined by the emergency room physician who diagnosed “right wrist sprain, myofascial back and neck strains, and exacerbation of chronic low back pain.”
Plaintiff underwent significant treatment for her neck and upper back injuries and for exacerbation of her pre-existing back condition. Treatment included chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy, injections, and two neck surgeries.
Plaintiff ‘s medical bills totaled $210,000.00. After treatment, plaintiff was left with permanent limited range of motion in her neck, muscle spasms, cramping, and left shoulder pain. In addition, she continues to suffer from exacerbation of her pre-existing lower back condition.
The responsible party had inadequate insurance to compensate plaintiff for all her injuries resulting from this collision. Attorney Kitay employed the “made whole” legal doctrine (health insurance carrier is not entitled to reimbursement until an accident victim is “made whole” by the settlement), and persuaded plaintiff’s health insurer to accept $15,000.00 as payment in full for all medical bills incurred. Attorney Kitay then negotiated a policy limit underinsured motorist settlement for plaintiff in the sum of $305,000.00.
$127,000.00 REAR END AUTO COLLISION SETTLEMENT
Attorney Howard Kitay obtained a $127,000.00 settlement for a 55 year-old San Diego man who was rear-ended while stopped for a red light on an onramp to Interstate 5. Mr. Kitay’s client sustained $332.00 in property damage to the rear of his 1994 Chevrolet pickup truck.
Prior to this accident, plaintiff was in excellent physical condition with no history of neck pain. Following the collision, the plaintiff went to his primary care physician, complaining of neck pain and stiffness. He was told to rest and return if the pain got worse.
He waited a month before returning to his doctor, who then prescribed physical therapy. The physical therapy provided temporary, but not complete relief. The neck pain persisted. Plaintiff eventually consulted an orthopedic specialist who recommended an MRI, which revealed a herniated disk.
Attorney Kitay filed a claim with the defendant’s insurance company. The claim was denied. The insurance company argued the damage to plaintiff’s car was minimal, and that the impact was therefore not severe enough to cause injury. They hired a doctor to examine plaintiff and say that plaintiff’s complaints were not caused by the collision.
Attorney Kitay filed a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court, and retained medical experts to prove that plaintiff’s injuries were, in fact, caused by the collision with defendant.
Two years after the collision, plaintiff underwent a surgical procedure called anterior cervical discectomy and fusion; the surgery was successful, and permitted plaintiff to resume a normal life without daily pain. Plaintiff’s medical bills were approximately $35,000.00, which were paid by his health care insurance. Pursuant to its policy, the health care insurance company asserted its right to be reimbursed from any settlement received by plaintiff.
Less than thirty days before trial, attorney Kitay persuaded plaintiff’s health care insurance company to accept $14,000.00 in full payment of the medical bills. Presenting testimony from highly qualified medical experts that plaintiff’s injuries were, in fact, caused by the collision, Mr. Kitay negotiated $127,000.00 settlement for his client.