Personal Injury lawyer Robert Allard persuaded a Santa Cruz County jury to award a homeless skateboarder fair compensation for injuries suffered more than three years ago.
Online PR News – 21-March-2011 – – Santa Cruz, CA --- The San Jose personal injury law firm of Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard is announcing that a Santa Cruz County jury on March 17, 2011 awarded more than $600,000 to a homeless 41-year-old skateboarder who was hit and severely injured by a car driven by a prominent Santa Cruz County resident. The jury reduced the award to $387,000 after determining that the skateboarder, Shawn Erwood, was 37% at fault for the car accident.
The lawsuit filed by attorney Robert Allard, who was assisted during the trial by Oakland, CA attorney David Martin, on behalf of Erwood (Santa Cruz County, Case CV164671) alleged that a car driven by Dominican Foundation Board member James Hatch caused serious and permanent injuries to Erwood following the December 2007 accident. Erwood was riding his skateboard on Capitola Road in Santa Cruz when Mr. Hatch’s car struck him down and ran over him. Hatch left the scene, leaving a seriously injured Erwood lying on the ground. Hatch then returned to the scene and upon seeing emergency vehicles attending to Erwood left the scene once again.
Hatch and his insurance company Safeco Insurance refused to take personal responsibility for Hatch's irresponsible driving, requiring a Santa Cruz County jury to hear both sides of the case in a ten day trial before Judge Timothy Volkmann and decide liability.
In deciding liability in this case, the jury was instructed to determine if Hatch was responsible for the accident that left Erwood with serious injuries, and how much Erwood should be compensated for his injuries.
"The jury should be commended for upholding the laws of this country that state every person is entitled to equal rights and protection under the law," said Allard. "For Mr. Hatch and his defense lawyer, James Biernat, to argue that status should entitle them to evade responsibility simply because my client did not have a home and was riding a skateboard, in my belief, backfired before the jury. Hatch and his insurance defense lawyer tried to make my client’s lifestyle the focus of their argument rather than accepting responsibility for running him over and then inexplicably leaving the scene of the accident not once but twice," added Allard.
Due to a lack of health insurance and Safeco steadfastly evading responsibility, Erwood has gone well over three years without the full medical treatment necessary for recovery. Going forward, Erwood will now be able to undergo numerous surgeries including surgery to both his left and right shoulder, along with full hip replacement and reconstructive surgery to his knee. In addition to back injuries, these ailments will result in some permanent disability despite surgical intervention.
About Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard
Corsiglia McMahon & Allard was named one of the best law firms in America in 2010 by U.S. News Best Law Firms. Timothy McMahon, a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and Robert Allard, selected twice by The American Trial Lawyers Association as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in California, join partner Brad Corsiglia, selected by Best Lawyers in America, along with associates Mark Sigala, former President, Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association, and Dan Schaar, current board member of the Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association to position Corsiglia McMahon & Allard as the preeminent personal injury law firm in San Jose and California.