CASE RESULTS & ADDITIONAL CASE INFORMATION
On Monday, January 6, 2014, Schmidt Kramer accident lawyer Scott Cooper obtained a verdict on behalf of his client who is the widow of a man who died in a fiery crash on Interstate 78 in Lebanon County. The awarded verdict of $2.2 million was in a nonjury proceeding before a federal judge in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. That verdict includes $100,000 in punitive damages assessed against the owner of the trucking company.
Kamilah Claxton won summary judgment in November after the defendants, Sukhwinder Singh and the trucking company for which he worked, failed to file a brief in opposition to Claxton's motion, which was made in September. The verdict in Claxton v. Singh was issued after the court held a non-jury assessment of damages earlier this month.
"Mr. Sukhchan Singh, the employer, is liable on the basis of respondent superior, but was also grossly negligent in failing to maintain his vehicle in compliance with state and federal law, particularly with regard to having required safety inspections and correcting defects in its braking equipment," said U.S. District Judge William W. Caldwell of the Middle District of Pennsylvania in his opinion accompanying the verdict.
"He was also grossly negligent in entrusting his vehicle to Sukhwinder Singh, an inexperienced truck driver who had failed the written test and driving test multiple times before finally earning his commercial driving license," Caldwell said.
ScottCooper settled a wrongful death case on behalf of the widow of a police office who was killed in a car accident in the line of duty for $1,024,040.80. The claim against the other driver was amicably resolved before suit was filed for the entire available policy limits for the other driver. The case took place in Adams County, PA.
Partner Gerard C. Kramer won a $950,000.00 suit in Perry County for a motor vehicle accident. The personal injury action for a wrongful death was filed on behalf of a 19-year-old female killed in the accident. The victim was a passenger in a vehicle that left the roadway striking a fixed object.
Schmidt Kramer partner Scott Cooper recently settled an auto accident case involving an older gentleman who was hit by an ambulance while in a crosswalk in Northumberland County. The injuries were significant and the client was admitted to the hospital. Despite the very conservative jurisdiction in Central Pennsylvania, Scott was able to amicably resolve the client's case and secure a settlement before filing a lawsuit.
Partner Scott Cooper settled a claim where his client was seriously injured while a passenger in a vehicle which struck two cars that were blocking the road in Snyder County. The accident occurred when the car his client was traveling in hit the two vehicles late at night as it was going around a blind curve. Both vehicles were blocking the road and did not have insurance, so uninsured motorist claims were pursued. The case was amicably resolved for $500,000 which represented the policy limits available. He was also able to defeat an alleged subrogation lien of almost $200,000 by pointing out to the health insurance carrier that it did not have a claim due to its plan language.
Schmidt Kramer injury lawyer and partner Scott Cooper recently settled a case where his client was seriously injured by an at-fault truck driver. The accident occurred in south Central Pennsylvania in a conservative venue. The other driver crossed the center line causing serious, substantial and significant injuries to the injured victim. The insurance carrier for the trucking company defended the case and the case was recently settled at mediation, prior to any lawsuit being filed, for $475.000. The initial offer was $200,000.
Schmidt Kramer handled a personal injury action on behalf of a 53 year old man who was rear ended and suffered a shoulder injury which required surgery. Partner Gerard C. Kramer settled the case for $325,000 in Lebanon County, PA.
Schmidt Kramer partner Scott Cooper recently settled a car accident case in Dauphin County which resulted in injuries and surgery. The accident occurred less than 2 years ago and was amicably resolved before litigation. In addition, Scott was able to successfully negotiate an ERISA lien by over 50% of the company's claim which resulted in the client receiving additional monies.
Sometimes the party who causes a tragic situation will recognize their responsibility, and other times they have to be shown. Charles E. Schmidt, Jr., recently brought a police department to the table and was successful in resolving a case for more than $250,000 to the benefit of his client. The police still admit nothing. But Mr. Schmidt's relentless pursuit of the case through the Court of Common Pleas, and then the Commonwealth Court, brought the case to a successful conclusion. The police department had argued that they were immune from any liability because their vehicle had never hit the vehicle in which the innocent by-stander sat. Mr. Schmidt countered with alleging the failure of the police officer pursuing a suspect to turn on his lights and his siren. If a police officer is going to exceed the speed limit, he must turn on his lights and sirens to warn innocent by-standers of danger. Many police departments across the country have decided not to continue police pursuits because of the danger to by-standards, and this particular police department may have had a policy which was similar. In any case, the innocent by-stander's family was able to successfully prosecute their case against the police department through their lawyer's work.
Mike Kosik successfully pursued an under insured motorist case against State Farm. After reaching a settlement with the driver responsible for the accident, a claim for under insured motorist benefits was pursued against the clients own insurance policy. The claim was pursued because the other driver was under insured and the client were not fully compensated. State Farm refused to settle and after suit was filed removed the case to the Federal Middle District of Pennsylvania. State Farm made several small offers of settlement which were rejected by the clients and the case proceeded to trial. The jury rejected State Farm’s position and awarded $250,000 against State Farm which the court molded to $150,000 based on the previous settlement.
Partner Scott Cooper's client was seriously injured in a Pennsylvania car accident near Harrisburg. After receiving an offer of the liability insurance coverage for the other driver, Scott started an under insured motorist (UIM) claim for the client and discovered a flaw in a forms process that was supposed to have been signed by the client when applying for under insured motorist coverage. After pointing out the deficiency to the insurance carrier for his client, the under insured motorist insurance carrier agreed to provide the much needed additional coverage which netted the Schmidt Kramer client an additional $150,000. The client's Under insured Motorist Coverage was reformed equal to liability coverage of $250,000.
Scott Cooper recently settled a claim involving a life insurance policy benefit. After his client's family member was tragically killed in a car accident caused by another person south of Harrisburg, a claim was presented for the life insurance policy of the deceased relative. The insurance company denied the claim and Scott represented the family member and pursued the denial by arguing that the company was wrong for denying the claim. After elaborating on the Pennsylvania case law and authority the insurance company immediately reversed its denial and has paid the $250,000 policy claim.
Scott Cooper recently settled an injury case for $250,000 on behalf of a client who sustained injuries in a rear end car accident which occurred in Union County, Pennsylvania. The client had undergone back surgery prior to the accident and the accident re-aggravated her condition resulting in another surgery.
Schmidt Kramer partner Gerard C. Kramer settled a car accident case in Lancaster County for $250,000. Attorney Kramer won the personal injury action on behalf of a 43-year-old woman who was a passenger in a motor vehicle which was struck by another vehicle in Lancaster County. The defendant ran a stop sign, colliding with the victim’s vehicle broadside. The plaintiff suffered multiple fractures and loss of vision in one eye. The $250,000.00 settlement represents the entire insurance limits available.
Schmidt Kramer partner Gerard C. Kramer won a $215,000.00 personal injury action in Lebanon County for a motor vehicle accident injury. The personal injury action was sought on behalf of 15-year-old male who was a passenger in a vehicle that left the paved portion of the roadway, striking a telephone pole. The victim suffered a fractured pelvis.
Schmidt Kramer partner and car accident lawyer Scott Cooper recently settled a case where his client was injured in a car accident, which occurred just outside Harrisburg. The accident injured his client and fractured her leg, leading to surgery and wage loss.
The initial offer from the insurance company was $50,000 but, once he filed a lawsuit in Harrisburg, Dauphin County, the case was quickly amicably resolved within 10 days for $210,000.
Partner Gerard C. Kramer won a $200,000.00 personal injury action on behalf of a car accident victim in Lebanon County. The victim of the accident was a 15 year old male who was thrown from rear of a pick-up. The victim suffered a leg fracture which required multiple surgeries.
$195,000.00, Dauphin County, MVA, Gerard C. Kramer. This personal injury action was sought on behalf of a 36-year-old woman that was struck from behind, resulting in a disc injury in the neck.
When the case was originally referred to him, the attorney referring it believed that the available UIM coverage was only $100,000. However, Scott realized that the insurance company did not comply with the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law when it obtained a rejection of stacking waiver. The insurance company admitted the mistake and then changed the policy to $200,000 available coverage. This allowed the client to recover even more monies than were originally thought to be available. Also, Scott amicably resolved the client's original third party case.
Partner Scott Cooper recently settled a case for a client who was hit in a Lancaster County parking lot car accident while visiting Pennsylvania from out of state. The client was hit by a car while he was entering his parked car. He sustained an injury to his ankle which required surgery. After filing suit in federal court in Harrisburg, the car accident case settled during a mediation for $170,000.
Schmidt Kramer partner Gerard Kramer won a personal injury action of $125,000.00 on behalf of a motorcycle accident victim in Dauphin County. The accident victim, a 43 year old male operating a motorcycle, was injured after hitting a construction transition in the roadway. The accident victim suffered a fractured clavicle which required surgical plating.
Scott Cooper recently settled an underinsured motorist case for the policy limits of $100,000 where he argued that a rejection form did not comply with Pennsylvania law because the form was on paper which had the emblem of a different insurance company. He prevailed on a Motion for Summary judgment and the case was settled between the client and insurance company before any appeal.
Attorney Dennis Kergick helped an injured claimant receive $100,000.00 to settle a workers' comp case that didn't require extensive litigation for an injury that did not require the injured worker to undergo surgery.
Scott Cooper's client was injured in a car accident in Dauphin County, just outside Hershey, in 2010. A lawsuit was filed and the other driver's insurance company's highest offer was $15,000. In September 2013 the case went to a trial by arbitration. After the arbitration, Scott's client was awarded $40,797.89, over $25,000 more than the highest pre-trial offer.
If a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident because of another driver or company who may have been driving distracted, contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer and accident lawyer at Schmidt Kramer We can answer any questions or concerns you have about injury accidents in Central Pennsylvania. Our toll-free number is 888-476-0807 or 717-888-8888 and the initial case evaluation is free.
A client was seriously injured in a car accident north of Harrisburg. After recovering the undisputed insurance coverage for the client, Schmidt Kramer partner Scott Cooper discovered a flaw in a section 1734 sign down form on the client's under insured motorist form. After pointing out the form deficiency to the Snyder County car accident under insured motorist insurance carrier the company provided the much needed additional coverage which netted the Schmidt Kramer client an additional $35,000.
Client's Under Insured Motorist Coverage Reformed Equal To Liability Coverage.
Attorney Scott Cooper recently settled an uninsured motorist case for his client who was injured outside Pittsburgh in a hit and run car accident. He settled the claim for her policy limits of $25,000. The important thing is that not only was the case settled for the policy limits without filing a lawsuit, but the client's insurance company tried to offer only $1,000 for her case before she hired Scott and Schmidt Kramer Although this settlement is not a guarantee for future cases, it does show the importance of hiring the right attorney and law firm to represent your interests if you are injured in a Pennsylvania car, truck or motorcycle accident, or have an uninsured or under insured motorist claim.
Scott Cooper prevailed in front of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently in a case where a police officer was injured in the course and scope of his employment and was seeking under insured motorist coverage but the insurance company denied the claim based upon an exclusion in the policy. The Supreme Court accepted Mr. Cooper's argument and held in Heller v. Penn Prime that the exclusion is void.
In Pusl v. Means, 982 A.2d 550 (Pa.Super.2009), the Superior Court held that the tortfeasor gets full credit for earlier-paid under insured motorist (UIM) benefits. On October 28, 2012, the Superior Court overruled Pusl in Smith v. Rohrbaugh, No. J-E02001-12, No. 91 MDA 2010 (Pa.Super., September 28, 2012).
"This important ruling means that the third party can no longer get the benefit of the plaintiff being able to settle with the UIM carrier before a third party trial. The ruling prevents insurance companies from delaying third party cases at the expense of victims and also encourages early settlements of under insured motorist claims. Further, it prevents a tortfeasor from avoiding paying monies that a judge or jury finds them liable to pay to an innocent victim.”- Schmidt Kramer partner and Pennsylvania Association for Justice (PAJ) President Scott Cooper.
Scott Cooper was plaintiff counsel with fellow PAJ Member Christian Eaby. David Harrison of PAJ’s Amicus Curiae Committee briefed the case on behalf of PAJ.
Schmidt Kramer's Senior Partner Charles Schmidt recently prevailed in an important appellate case decided by the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court. As a result fo the case, bystanders injured as a result of high-speed police chases have another Pennsylvania decision to cite in favor of setting aside governmental immunity in tort claims against police departments following a recent Commonwealth Court decision — even if it isn't the police car that hits them. For more information, visit the Cornelius v. Harrisburg Police Bureau opinion or contact our legal team with questions.
Yesterday a Judge in Union County (Lewisburg, PA) awarded a couple from New Berlin, Pennsylvania, over $4,000,000 because the husband was shot while turkey hunting.
You might ask yourself, how does a turkey hunting accident end up with that type of verdict? In order to understand the verdict you would have to know our clients. They are good people who had their life wrecked. Plus, you would have to know the defendant, who should not have been hunting with a gun because he was prohibited after a previous criminal conviction.
It is a good verdict, because the Judge was able to do two things with his decision. First, he communicated to two very good people that their losses were something that those of us on the outside could appreciate and value. Mike Hobbins (our client) is a 51 year old guy who lost his sight because a convicted felon --who should not have even possessed a gun-- went hunting illegally, and broke with impunity the most fundamental rule in hunting: identify your target before you pull the trigger. The Judge accepted the financial loss Mr. Hobbins' suffered, but listened closely to the evidence of less tangible losses. When Mike broke down on the stand, because his daughter would end up walking him down the aisle at her wedding, as opposed to how it was supposed to go, the Judge was listening. When Mike could not keep it together, because of how emasculating it was for him not to be able to provide financially for his family, the Judge was listening. It was facts like these that the Judge cited to support the $2,000,000 award for non-economic damages. Second, the Judge wanted to send a message. Union County is a hunting county. Many of the residents hunt there, and people from outside the area come to Union County to hunt. It was my impression, from the Judge's statements as he rendered his decision, that he wanted to send a message to the people in Union County to protect them in their sport. The rules in place to restrict people convicted of crimes not to have a gun are not to be broken. Hunting is serious and you have to identify your target before you shoot. When you turn your back on the rules that are set to provide safety in a sport, you risk being an example. Here, the $1,000,000 punitive damage award sends that message loud and clear.
When it really comes down to brass tacks, the right action was taken against a Defendant who may never truly appreciate what kind of impact his reckless choices caused.
At Schmidt Kramer, we are injury lawyers. That means we work with people who were hurt in car accidents, who were hurt by the neglect of nursing homes, or those that were seriously injured because of the reckless, thoughtless acts of others. If you or a loved one have been injured in Pennsylvania, we may be able to help. While the verdict yesterday is not one that is representative of every case we do, it does show that serious and dedicated representation can bring good results.
January 18, 2013
Social Security Disability
An administrative law judge awarded Social Security benefits to a 59-year-old man who suffered difficulties with memory, concentration, and completing tasks as a result of post-concussive syndrome following two motor vehicle accidents.
An administrative law judge awarded Social Security benefits to a 54-year-old woman with chronic neck and back pain. She had difficulty lifting, sitting, standing, and walking. She was working part-time at the time of the decision; however, performing her job was getting more difficult every day.
An administrative law judge awarded Social Security benefits to a woman suffering from multiple sclerosis, COPD, and fibromyalgia. Her impairments caused chronic weakness in her legs and chronic fatigue throughout the day. Her MS flares caused severe, incapacitating headaches. The judge found that her impairment was severe enough to meet Social Security Listing 11.09 for multiple sclerosis.
An administrative law judge awarded Social Security benefits to a 45-year-old man suffering from severe COPD, obstructive sleep apnea, and pulmonary hypertension. He required the use of oxygen around the clock due to his severe respiratory problems.
Scott Cooper settled a wrongful death claim for $742,000 on behalf of a the estate of a trash worker killed in a car accident in Franklin County. The case was amicably resolved for all of the available insurance policy coverage for the other driver and under insured motorist carrier. Also, Mr. Cooper was able to amicably resolved all subrogation interests with the worker's compensation carrier for a lump sum and agreement for the subrogation claim to be waived in full.
Schmidt Kramer reached a lump sum settlement of $200,000 in a workers' compensation case. The deceased's wife and children pursued death benefits under the Workers' Compensation Act.
The deceased had committed suicide because of all the pain he was in from his work injury and the fact that the insurance company refused to pay for his prescriptions. We were able to settle the case for a just amount of $200,000.
Schmidt Kramer partner Scott Cooper recently settled an accident case in which a worker was injured in a work-related accident while attempting to load a low bed truck with a swing set. The worker slipped on some grease and dislocated his shoulders resulting in medical bills, wage loss, and non-economic damages. The personal injury case was filed in Mifflin County in North Central Pennsylvania and settled recently for $150,000. The workers' compensation case was also settled for a lump sum settlement.
Schmidt Kramer, P.C.partner Gerard C. Kramer won a personal injury action for $10,043,952.13 in Northumberland County on behalf of a volunteer firefighter who was the victim of Intentional Tort. The 50-year-old volunteer firefighter was seriously injured when a barn collapsed, causing a spinal injury which left him a paraplegic. The claim was brought against the arsonist who intentionally started the fire. It is believed that the verdict is the highest ever in Northumberland County.
A Dauphin County jury has awarded a $1.2 million verdict to the parents of a 5-year-old who had an anoxic brain injury and stopped breathing after he had a tonsillectomy.
2012-06-26 10:00:00 AM
Date of Verdict: June 19. 2012
Court and Case No.: C.P. Dauphin County No. 2009-CV-14003-MM
Judge: Scott Evans
Type of Action: Medical malpractice
Injuries: Anoxic brain injury
Plaintiffs Counsel: Terry S. Hyman, Schmidt Kramer, Harrisburg
Plaintiffs Experts: Dr. Anna H. Messner, liability; Lucille Packer, Pediatric Otolaryngology, Palo Alto, Calif.; Terry P. Leslie, vocations and earning capacity, Lancaster; Dr. Hilary B. Berlin, pediatric psychiatry, Great Neck, N.Y.
Defense Counsel: Andrew H. Foulkrod, Darlene K. King, Foulkrod Ellis, Camp Hill, PA
Defense Experts: James C. Reilly, Pediatric Otolaryngology, Wilmington, DE
Comment: A Dauphin County jury has awarded a $1.2 million verdict to the parents of a 5-year-old who had an anoxic brain injury and stopped breathing after he had a tonsillectomy.
The entire verdict came against Dr. Andrew M. Shapiro, the doctor who plaintiffs Reginald Graham and Tykeisha Metz alleged chose to have the boy monitored at a pediatric ward. The plaintiffs argued Shapiro failed to tell nurses caring for the baby about, and how to care for, the boy's enhanced risk for respiratory failure.
The jury came back on June 19 and awarded Reginald Graham and Tykeisha Mets $500,000 in non-economic damages and $686,170 in loss of future earning capacity, according to the plaintiffs counsel.
According to the statement, the baby's mother brought him to Shapiro because she was "'afraid that he might stop breathing during his sleep,'" the plaintiffs' pretrial statement said. Shapiro performed a sleep study and observed the baby's Apnea Hypopnea Index to be 43 — four times higher than what's considered severe. A tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy were performed.
According to the plaintiffs, the baby's sleep study results put him at an increased risk for post-operative respiratory complications. Despite this, they argued in the statement, Shapiro ordered the pediatric nurses at the Harrisburg Hospital general pediatric ward to observe the boy as they would any other patients — about once every four hours.
The pretrial statement said that one in four children who have an AHI in the 40s and oxygen desaturation below 80 have some type of respiratory problem. The younger the child, the greater the risk of a respiratory problem, the statement said.
According to the statement, Shapiro took off the child's pulse oximeter, the finger-mounted device used to measure blood oxygen, and ordered a heart and respiratory rate monitor. The child was 11 months old at the time.
The plaintiffs pled that the baby was last seen at 4 a.m. There was no record of his oxygen saturation for the next hour and 45 minutes. He stopped breathing a 6:40 a.m., and his brain was without oxygen long enough to cause demonstrable injury on an MRI.
"Immediately prior to his surgery, [the child] was a normal child, who could say mama, eat finger foods, and was just on the verge of walking," the statement said. "After his code, [he] was like a newborn. He could not lift his head or sit up. He could not talk. He could not move."
In his pretrial statement, Shapiro argued that he recognized the child's pre-operative sleep study showed he was driven to breath by decreased blood oxygen saturation, which he said was typical in patients with obstructive sleep apnea.
He argued the American Academy of Otolaryngology dictates that admission to the intensive care unit is not the standard of care. In the statement, he said nurses did not observe signs of respiratory distress. No alarms sounded until the child arrested, the statement said.
He said the baby likely arrested as a result of hypoglycemia and/or an acute aspiration, which he argued would not have been identified by blood oxygen saturation.
— Ben Present, of the Law Weekly
A Schmidt Kramer medical malpractice attorney was successful in obtaining a contested arbitration award of $425,000 in a Dauphin County medical malpractice case against Pinnacle Health Cardiovascular Institute on behalf of a Daniel Kitner, a 90-year-old client. The Plaintiff in the case was his wife’s caretaker as she suffered from Parkinson’s disease. In order to be better able to help her, Mr. Kitner agreed to undergo a total knee replacement. As part of getting clearance for the knee surgery, Mr. Kitner’s family doctor sent Mr. Kitner to Pinnacle CVI for a stress test. Following the stress test, a Pinnacle Physicians Assistant ordered a Holter monitor test because she says some minor abnormalities on the stress test. She did not consult and cardiologist, did not tell the family doctor she ordered the test, and led the family to believe the Holter tests would be reported to the family doctor before Mr. Kitner’s surgery. The Holter test results came back 2 days before the surgery and showed Mr. Kitner had previously undiscovered Atrial Fibrillation. Atrial Fibrillation is a malignant arrhythmia of the heart which has an 8 times greater risk of causing a stroke than found in normal patients. However, if the Afib is known, the patient will be prescribed an anticoagulant which reduces the likelihood of stroke from AFib by 87%.
Mr. Kitner’s new finding of Atrial Fibrillation was NOT reported to Mr. Kitner’s family doctor before surgery. Within 20 hours of his surgery Mr. Kitner suffered a massive stroke, leaving him paralyzed on one side of his body and completely unable to talk. The practice claimed they had no duty to report the findings before surgery, and even if they were reported the Afib the result would be the same. The Arbitrator who acts in the same capacity as a jury found our attorney’s presentation of the facts more compelling and awarded $425,000 to Mr. Kitner despite his advanced age. The success rate for Plaintiff’s in litigated cases in Dauphin County is under 10%.
Schmidt Kramer is proud to be able to help folks like the Kitners in exposing errors in the health care system and obtaining compensation for those mistakes.
If you believe that you or a loved one have been injured by sub-standard care at a Pennsylvania Hospital or Central PA nursing home, call a Pennsylvania nursing home lawyer at Schmidt Kramer. Call us at (717) 888-8888 if you are local to Harrisburg, or call us toll-free at 1-888-476-0807.
$215,000.00 - Attorney Gerry Kramer won a $215,000.00 personal injury action on behalf of a drunk driving victim in York County. The victim was a 56-year-old man who was struck by drunk driver in Lancaster County, PA. He suffered a subdural hematoma which resulted in severe headaches.
A Schmidt Kramer lawyer recently reached a confidential settlement on behalf of the estate of an 80-year-old nursing home resident who died due to the negligence of the nursing home. The nursing home failed to monitor changes in the resident's condition and report it to the treating physician. This caused a severe internal injury which led to the resident being rushed to the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery that revealed even more injuries and damages. He ultimately was admitted to the hospital and died 2 months after the incident.