Steven Sweat - Los Angeles Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys

I had a client about 3 years ago.  When she called me, she said she could only talk "a few minutes" because she had a pre-paid cell phone with limited time left.  She told me she was crossing La Brea Boulevard (a busy four lane surface street in Los Angeles).  She waited for the cross walk and started across but, she was a little slow because she had injured her knee while serving her country as a veteran in the first Gulf War.  She got about 3/4 across the interection when a person, not paying attention, blew past the limit line and struck her at approximately 35-40 mph after skidding to a stop.  The impact knocked her about 1-15 feet into the intersection.  She went from walking with difficulty to not walking at all.

As we talked further, I told her I was interested in representing her.  She told me she only had VA health care and that she had gone to them for emergency treatment but, wanted to get a second opinion because "they were the ones that told me my knee 'would heal' after the war" and it had now been over 10 years and it wasn't much better.   I said I would find her an Orthopedic doctor that would be willing to treat her despite the fact that she had no health insurance other than VA benefits.  Knowing she had mobility problems, I offered to go to her "house" to see her.  There was a long pause ... and then she said, "Well, Mr. Sweat, this is embarrasing but, I don't have a home.  I've been staying at the Union Shelter downtown for the past three months.  I thought I had a job lined up and was going to get out of here but, then this accident happened."

I drove down to "skid row" and did a consultation with her in my car parked in front of the shelter.  I found a doctor that did an MRI on her knee and determined that she needed surgery for a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL).   I got them to agree to do the surgery "on a lien", which meant she was treated despite lack of insurance and the doctor just agreed to be paid out of the settlement.  I filed a claim with the driver's automobile insurance company and sent a letter requesting to settle the case without having to file a lawsuit.  I pointed out that the liability for negligence was clear and that my client had a significant injury, which warranted them to just pay out the available insurance policy limit.  They refused and I had to spend the better part of a year fighting them in court.  They took my client's deposition and she told them (again) how the accident happened and about her injury.  I took the deposition of their insured driver, who admitted to blowing through the intersection because he was talking on his cell phone. They demanded all the medical records which I had already given them before filing suit (which is required by California Law) and I gave it to them again.  They demanded to have their doctor examine my client (which is allowed under California Law)and I let them examine her.   Finally, they relented and paid the full policy limit.

I was able to reduce my client's medical bills and get them paid and she netted a nice portion of the remaining settlement.

Fast forward six months: I am sitting in my office and I receive a small note: "Dear Mr. Sweat: I just want to thank you.  My knee has never felt better (Thank Dr._________ for me too!).  I'm back working and I used the money I got on the lawsuit (along with a VA loan) to buy a house.  It's not big and it's not fancy, but it's home!"

This is L.A. "street law" at its finest!