Severly Injured Marine Prevails Despite Bad Police Report

Susan Handel settles catastrophic motorcycle accident for $1,500,000 despite all odds against
her badly injured client

A police report can be a very helpful tool in assisting victims of motorcycle accidents to
secure compensation for their injuries when the report is in their favor. If the police report is in
their favor, and against the other driver, it will help establish liability for their motorcycle
accident. What if the police report is against you? Fortunately, the police report is not the final
word on liability for your motorcycle accident.

When I receive a police report that is against my client, I do not throw in the towel and
give up! Instead, I do everything possible to turn the liability around, including, but not limited
to, taking independent witness statements, hiring an accident reconstruction expert to reconstruct
the motorcycle accident, calling the police officer to discuss the accident and persuade him to
change his report based on new information that he may not have considered, taking the
deposition of the defendant driver and pinning them down on the facts of the accident, and more,
depending on the particulars of each motorcycle accident. I frequently will do a background
check on the defendant driver and all independent witnesses listed on the police report in order to
secure information that can impeach their testimony in a deposition and/or trial. If I believe in a
case, I do not give up easily.

Matthew Bonus, a then 32 year old Marine, was involved in a motorcycle accident and
sustained injuries which included, but were not limited to a closed head injury, skull fractures,
left carotid artery dissection, left scapular fracture, facial nerve palsy, left fibular fracture and
cognitive injuries. He was hospitalized for approximately one month and was unconscious for
most of that time. He was not able to tell his side of the story at the scene of the accident because
he was unconscious. He was never able to tell his side of the story because of the massive head
injuries he sustained that caused him to lose his memory as to the facts of his accident. The
defendant claimed that Matthew tried to pass her unsafely on her right side and
t-boned her car as she was making a right hand turn onto a street that had been closed due to
flooding. The police report was against Matthew and concluded that he had violated California
Vehicle Code Section 21755 which regards Unsafe Passing on the Right.

When Matthew became conscious in the hospital, he was befriended by the other patient
in his room who was also involved in a catastrophic motorcycle accident. I had been contacted
by, but declined, the case of the other patient because clearly, the motorcycle accident was his
fault as a result of excessive speed. However, at this patient’s urging, Matthew called me.

In addition to having the police report assessed against Matthew, there were no
independent witnesses who observed the actual accident occur. Matthew could not remember
how the accident happened as a result of his head injuries. The physical evidence at the scene of
the accident revealed that Matthew could have very well caused this collision.

Then there was the built in unfounded prejudice against a motorcyclist as being a
reckless, irresponsible rider that I had to deal with- even though it is the defendant drivers of
vehicles who frequently cause the accident because of their failure to observe the motorcyclist. The leading cause of motorcycle accidents continues to be the failure of vehicle drivers to
observe and see the motorcyclist. Matthew’s case was no different. My lengthy investigation
revealed that the defendant driver had become lost and confused at the time of this accident and
was not familiar with the area. I also discovered that the defendant driver attempted to make a
right hand turn onto a street that was closed due to flooding and that she attempted to make an
illegal u-turn on that street in order to travel back onto the road . Clearly, this defendant driver
was not thinking clearly and was not driving responsibly. My investigation revealed that the
defendant driver was inattentive as to her surrounding traffic and that she never observed
Matthew until he impacted with her vehicle. Had the defendant driver been aware of her
surrounding traffic, she would have observed Matthew and been able to avoid the collision
completely. The bottom line is that the defendant driver was not paying attention to her
surrounding traffic, that she failed to observe Matthew, and that she made a right hand turn
directly in Matthew’s path, and caused the resulting accident.

I made a demand for the defendant’s insurance policy limits of $1,500,000.00
( one million five hundred thousand dollars ) with a zero offer from AAA, the defendant’s
insurance carrier. I filed a lawsuit and litigated Matthew’s case vigorously. I noticed the
defendant driver’s deposition, intending to prove that she was not truthful about the facts of the
accident, that she was not a credible witness, and that she alone caused the accident. AAA
contacted me before the defendant driver’s deposition was to take place, and tendered the
defendant’s policy limits of $1,500,000.00 to Matthew. AAA was concerned that I would prove
the defendant driver did in fact cause Matthew’s accident and clearly, they wanted this case
settled with no chance of it ever going to Court.

The moral of the story-always ride safe-and never give up, even when the police report is
against you!