Michigan Car Accident Lawyer Gets Largest Overall Settlement, Largest Auto Negligence Verdict in State

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Steven M. Gursten of Michigan Auto Law receives $3.9 million truck accident settlement and $5.65 million car crash verdict, beating out countless 2008 awards from thousands of Michigan personal injury lawyers

…considering the fact that there are approximately 4,000 Michigan attorneys who say they handle personal injury cases as part of their practice, the odds of accomplishing this feat are astronomical.

The auto accident lawyers of Southfield-based Michigan Auto Law are proud to announce that partner Steven M. Gursten has gotten the largest settlement and the largest auto negligence verdict in the entire state of Michigan for 2008, according to a year-end verdicts and settlements report by Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

In addition to achieving some of the highest car and truck accident settlements each year for injury victims in Michigan, Steve Gursten has received the largest jury verdict in four of the past seven years. He also has received the largest pain and suffering settlement in Michigan in more than a decade.

Lawyers Weekly stated about Gursten's successful record, "…considering the fact that there are approximately 4,000 Michigan attorneys who say they handle personal injury cases as part of their practice, the odds of accomplishing this feat are astronomical."

Additionally, law firm partner David Christensen garnered the ninth biggest settlement in Michigan last year. Here are our personal injury lawyers' top 2008 verdicts and settlements:

No. 1 Michigan settlement: $3.9 million (Case 07-719459-NI)
Estate of Patrick G. Nunez v. Utica Transit Mix and Supply, Co. Inc. and Charles L. Dreyer

Plaintiff Patrick Nunez was traveling in the fast lane on I-75 in Detroit, Michigan when a trucker driving a fully-loaded, 150,000 pound gravel truck lost control and collided with Nunez' car. The car was smashed against the highway retainer wall, where it burst into flames, killing Nunez.

The truck lost control when its front-steer tire blew. But trucks are not supposed to dangerously lose control when they experience a tire blow-out, which is a foreseeable and common event. The defendant lost control because his truck was in defective and dangerous out-of-service mechanical condition. The driver admitted in a deposition that he had received no formal training or supervision from his employer. He also said he failed to inspect the truck's tires and brakes. Furthermore, he had a seizure disorder and was on powerful epilepsy medication that causes drowsiness and delayed reaction time.

Because of the Michigan truck driver's negligence, the case settled for $3.9 million.

No. 9 Michigan settlement: $1.6 million
Donald Weller, et al., v. J.T. Express, et al. (Case 06-620 NI)

The plaintiff truck driver Donald Weller was rear-ended by another semi-trailer truck at an intersection in Romeo, Michigan. He was treated for neck and back complaints in the emergency room and had physical therapy.

Seven weeks later, the plaintiff noticed weakness and numbness in his left arm and leg. A discectomy with fusion was performed after a disc was found to be compressing the spinal cord. His left-sided weaknesses never diminished, and symptoms were stroke-like. The man had suffered a stroke nearly six years before the accident, but he recovered completely.

Through case facilitation, a $1.6 million settlement was reached.

No. 2 Michigan verdict: $5.65 million (Case 07-937-NI)
Broeren, et al., v. Bates

Plaintiff Anthony Broeren was seriously injured after a friend accidentally ran him over with a Dodge Ram pickup truck and propelled him head-first into a log cabin. Doctors say Broeren -- who suffered crushing injuries to his leg that have required many surgeries and a traumatic brain injury for starters -- will never be able to return to competitive employment. He also suffers tinnitus, vertigo, side effects from various pain pills and weight gain. Prior to the accident, he was an engineer.

Broeren sued Roy Bates II of Chesterfield Township, Michigan. Chrysler owned the Dodge Ram pickup truck, and Bates was employed with Chrysler when he accidentally stepped on the gas instead of the brake and struck Broeren during a group hunting trip in Evart, Michigan. Although the verdict was issued against Bates because Chrysler had been removed as a named defendant in the case, Chrysler remains financially responsible for the award.

The jury deliberated for three hours before deciding to allot $5.65 million, broken down into $2.75 million for pain and suffering, $1.88 million for economic damages and $1.02 million for loss of consortium.

The personal injury lawyers of Michigan Auto Law have been successfully protecting auto accident victims for more than 50 years. Our law firm is the largest in Michigan that practices exclusively in car and truck accidents. Our greatest satisfaction is obtaining justice to our clients who have been seriously injured or killed in auto accidents, and have been wronged by insurance companies. We realize that lawyers must bring lawsuits to obtain justice for these people, because it's only the threat of litigation that will force some insurance companies, large trucking companies and corporations to do the right thing.

About Michigan Auto Law:
Michigan Auto Law is a third-generation law firm with 16 lawyers specializing in helping people who have been seriously injured or killed in car, truck and motorcycle accidents throughout Michigan. The firm has received the top reported Michigan jury verdict in five of the past eight years. It is headquartered in Southfield at 26555 Evergreen Road, Suite 1530, (800)777-0028. The firm also has offices in Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights. For more information, visit http://www.michiganautolaw.com.

About Steven M. Gursten:
Steven M. Gursten is recognized as one of the nation's top experts in serious car and truck accident injury cases and automobile insurance no-fault litigation. Steve heads Southfield-based Gursten, Koltonow, Gursten, Christensen & Raitt PC, also called Michigan Auto Law. His honors and awards include:

  •     AV-Rated Lawyer, Martindale-Hubbell
  •     Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers peer review publication
  •     Michigan Super Lawyer, Super Lawyers magazine
  •     Best Lawyers in Metro Detroit, DBusiness magazine
  •     Top 100 Trial Lawyer, American Trial Lawyers Association

Steve is a contributing writer to various legal periodicals and textbooks, including the State Bar of Michigan Negligence Law Section Quarterly. He is also author of "Handling Automobile Accident Cases" in the Michigan Lawyers Manual. Steve frequently lectures at legal seminars across the country on topics such as trial advocacy, Michigan no-fault law, traumatic brain injury cases and maximizing settlements for those injured in serious car and truck accidents. He graduated from the University of Michigan and Fordham University School of Law. For more information about Steve, please read his blog, which has news, tips and help for Michigan auto accident victims, drivers and lawyers.

Contact:
Natalie Marie Lombardo
Public Relations Director
Gursten, Koltonow, Gursten, Christensen & Raitt, PC
26555 Evergreen Road, Suite 1530
Southfield, MI
Phone: (248) 353-7575, Ext. 269
Fax: (248) 353-4504
http://www.michiganautolaw.com

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