In some accident cases, the facts speak for themselves. Sometimes, however, the facts are not always what they seem and careful investigation by good lawyers can reveal that an injured person deserves to be compensated for injury.
Consider the following two examples of cases involving tourists injured in the United States.
Fatal Accident in Arizona Lake
A group of post graduate students from Europe took an adventure tour of the United States. They visited several states including Arizona where they were taken to a lake for an afternoon of water sports. One of the things they did was cliff jumping, where they jumped into the lake from adjacent cliffs. One of the students was killed when he struck the water.
The tour company argued it was not to blame, claiming that the student had assumed the risk of injury or death by voluntarily undertaking a dangerous activity and further that he had signed a form before the tour waiving any claims for injury or death.
Investigation by our firm revealed that it was the tour guide who had encouraged the students to jump into the lake and that eight other people had died doing the same thing in previous years. Furthermore, the company had advertised the activity on its tour brochure. In these circumstances it was clear that the students had been misled into undertaking an activity that was much riskier than they thought.
The tour company was ultimately compelled to accept responsibility and the family received substantial compensation for the loss of their son. Additionally, the U.S. National Park Service published a poster based on this case warning of the dangers of cliff jumping.
Trip and Fall in California
A Canadian visitor to California visited an upscale restaurant with a group of friends. Because she was older and slower than the rest she walked at the back of the group both on her way in and on her way out of the restaurant. As she left the restaurant, she tripped over a crack in the footpath, fell and fractured her hip. She required a new hip joint and her recovery was prolonged and complicated by infection. She ended up permanently disabled.
On first view the case seemed weak as the cracks in the pathway were open and obvious and the restaurant claimed she could and should easily have avoided them.
However, my office carefully reconstructed the accident with a volunteer and using a video recording and expert testimony was able to show that the visitor’s view of the footpath was blocked by the man in front of her so that she was unaware of the cracked pavement. Further, discovery revealed that one week earlier, the district manager of the restaurant chain had told the restaurant manager to have the path repaired urgently but he had done nothing about it.
The Canadian visitor received a settlement of $740,000, proving that careful investigation and good preparation by competent counsel helps a client achieve a good measure of justice.
Walker Hamilton & Koenig
50 Francisco Street,
San Francisco, California