Gary recently represented Paul’s family in a premises liability all terrain vehicle (ATV) case. Paul and his wife were riding ATVs with a friend on private property in southern Missouri when the incident occurred. Paul, with his wife riding on the back of his ATV, rode through the front lawn of a house and headed towards a trail. As they rode between two trees in this yard, Paul struck a metal wire line strung between them. The impact immediately halted his forward movement and he violently recoiled backwards off the ATV and onto the ground. Paul suffered “barbed wire” injuries to his abdomen and chest from the impact. He was airlifted to a St. Louis hospital with multiple internal organ injuries and after arriving went into cardiac arrest. Despite surgery and aggressive medical care, he died. The sudden impact also injured Paul’s wife who suffered broken ribs among other injuries. The metal “clothes line” across the trail was a dangerous condition of the premises.
We immediately filed suit, served process and engaged in discovery with the defendant. After learning the insurance policy limits for this case were $600,000, we made a time-limited, policy-limit demand. We advised the insurance company that they had 30 days to pay $600,000, or the offer would be rescinded and never offered again. Paul’s damages were much greater than this amount; however, his blood alcohol content at the time of the accident was .18 (over two times the legal limit). The insurance company accepted our demand. The structured settlement will provide payments to Paul’s children for college and their first homes.