MORENO v. MANZANARES
In September 2012, 23-year-old Rosanna Moreno was critically injured when the car in which she was riding as a rear passenger struck a pickup truck that was parked alongside the road on a residential street in Riverside, CA. The pickup truck had a trailer attached. The driver of the car in which Ms. Moreno was riding then fled the scene and later denied driving the car. He was uninsured. Ms. Moreno initially hired a well-known personal injury law firm who investigated the case. The firm told Ms. Moreno’s family that they did not have a case. The family then hired our firm for a second opinion, and we initiated a thorough investigation of the accident. We discovered that the owner of the parked pickup truck knew that cars raced down his street at night, that he parked his truck in an area that he knew was near where cars raced, and that the factory installed reflectors had been removed from his trailer making it hard to see. Also, the trailer was painted “flat black” which made it even more of a hazard. Ms. Moreno, who was wearing a seatbelt, suffered a brain injury and needs around-the-clock care. She was placed in a long-term rehabilitation hospital. However, her family wanted to bring her home and take care of her. The problem was they did not have the resources to do so. Our firm sent a settlement demand to the owner of the truck. We identified her claims in detail and gave them a time limit to pay or fight. His insurance company consequently decided to pay their full policy limits in the sum of $7 million to settle the case. The court approved the settlement that provided Ms. Moreno with a special needs trust that allowed her family to buy a house with all the necessary equipment so that she could live at home with them.