Product Liability Verdicts & Settlements

Mechanic v. Automobile Manufacturer: Taking on one of the nation’s largest corporations, the Tallahassee lawyers at Hinkle.Law once again delivered. Our client, a hard working mechanic was working at the corner garage trying to fix a customer’s truck when he asked a co-worker to crank the motor. Unfortunately the standard transmission was in first gear and the vehicle lunged forward severely breaking our client’s leg. Our client received a favorable settlement. Following the settlement of our landmark claim, interlocked transmissions became the standard and few vehicles will now start in gear, the better practice is to require that the driver apply the brake before the car will start. These product improvements have almost certainly prevented serious injuries and saved lives.

Plaintiff v. Lawnmower Manufacturer: Jury verdict of $1,200,000 for a client who sustained burn injuries when his lawn mower ignited during fueling due to a defective mower switch.

Dalkon Shield IUD Litigation: Medical malpractice / Product Liability lawyer Mr. Hinkle represented dozens of women who were victim of this defective intrauterine device which caused pelvic infection and infertility.

L-tryptohphan Drug Litigation: Multiple million-dollar settlements for clients who sustained injury from a contaminated food supplement.

Family v. Defendants: Confidential settlement of $712,500 settlement against several defendants involving the rollover of a pickup truck due to a tire defect.

Client v. Above-Head Conveyor: Our client sustained neck and back injury when a conveyor in a paint shop dropped a heavy tie bar on him when a swivel stuck. Personal injury lawyer Donald Hinkle sued the designer and manufacturer of the product, which was not sold with safety chains. After our client’s injury the owner of the assembly line installed safety chains, an improvement that has almost certainly prevented serious injuries and saved lives.

Estate v. Heavy Equipment Manufacturer: Our client “jump-started” a large logging tractor while it was in gear – causing the machine to move forward and crush him to death. As a result of our case the manufacturer recalled all the machines and installed a safety switch that has almost certainly prevented injuries and saved lives.

Truck Driver v. In-ground Conveyor: Our client was a truck driver at a lumber manufacturing facility when he stepped into an unguarded conveyor that was used to move chips. A confidential settlement was obtained.

Client v. Agriculture Machine Company: Mr. Hinkle’s client sustained a serious leg injury while exiting a “skid-steer” loader. We contended the hydraulics should not operate unless the operator is secure in the driver’s seat, as a result the case settled.

Minor Child v. Lighter Fluid Manufacturer: A curious 4-year-old was naturally attracted to the smoldering barbeque pit next door that had been left unattended. He was apparently squirting the remnants of lighter fluid on the hot coals when the coals ignited causing a “flash back” into the container. The exploding container dumped fuel on the child causing second and third degree burns to his body. The Defendant, like most lighter-fluid manufacturers, failed to include a small screen in the container lid to prevent a “flash back”. The cost of the screen would be about 1 cent per container. The Defendant denied having considered a spark-arresting screen, but decades of old documents disputed this. Fortunately, our client healed very well and there were minimal future medical expenses. Shriners Hospital refused to seek reimbursement or charge for their services. The minor’s claim for pain, suffering and disfigurement was settled following extensive mediation for $750,000.

Plaintiff v. Agriculture Machine Company: A client of personal injury lawyer Donald Hinkle was working on a logging operation, cutting logs intended to be used as telephone poles, during a rain shower. A co-worker, operating a crane-type loader, dropped a load of stumps and debris on our client causing a severe neck injury. Because of immunity created under the worker’s compensation laws, the firm was not able to sue the co-worker. Tallahassee lawyer Donald Hinkle sued the manufacturer of the log loader due to fogging of the loader’s side windows. After a very lengthy and hotly disputed mediation, the case settled, allowing the client to secure an accessible residence and live independently.

Estate v. Automobile Company: Our client’s wife burned to death in her vehicle. Accident reconstruction showed that the fire was fueled by an electric fuel pump, which continued to operate post-collision. The Automobile Company vigorously contested all issues. Prior to trial, the client accepted a significant settlement which included structured payments for the children. Most cars with electric fuel pumps now have inertia cut-off switches that cause pumps to shut down in a collision preventing this type of tragedy.

Plaintiff v. Defendant: A young entrepreneur and mother of three was severely injured as a result of defective product. Product liability settlement was in the amount of $815,000.

Automobile Crashworthiness Litigation: Numerous confidential settlements with car manufactures for defective design or defective manufacture of their vehicles. The settlement agreements prohibit us from disclosing the nature of the defect.

Premises Liability Verdicts & Settlements

Family v. Contractor: Residential fire due to incomplete construction which allowed for a gas leak. $1,200,000 settlement.

College Student v. University: Our client was injured in a fall from his dorm as he followed a school tradition of climbing up the outside of the staircase. We admitted that he was comparatively at fault. Mr. Hinkle and co-counsel worked together to obtain a jury verdict totally apportioning liability and awarding damages of $5,000,000. Whether the State could be held responsible for its negligence was the subject of an appeal and the First District Court of Appeal reversed the jury’s verdict and declared the State immune from liability.

Teenage Driver v. Pool Liner Manufacturers: Significant settlement for a young man who suffered a spinal cord injury after he dove into a neighbor’s pool. The pool bottom has a “pebble” pattern that camouflaged the “break point” between shallow and deep. Although our client had been in the pool many times (and watched it being built) we used experts on vision and judgment to show that the design was a dangerous trap for a teenage boy.

Swimmer v. Homeowner: Jury verdict of almost $1,000,000 for a neck injury sustained by a client who dove off a dock into deceptively shallow water.

Plaintiff v. Oil Company: Our client was beaten because the service station where he worked did not have adequate security measures. The regional oil company had the contractual right, and thus the duty, to make improvements to the premises. The jury returned a verdict of $1,000,000. The location was immediately shut down but has now reopened with adequate lighting and appropriate security.

College Student v. Fraternity Brother: Our client was kicked in the groin by a fraternity brother. After a jury trial established insurance coverage under the defendant’s parents’ homeowner’s insurance policy, the case settled.

Client v. Oil Company: Jury verdict of $1,000,000 for client who sustained a head injury during a late night robbery of a gas station. The station did not have adequate security measures.

Motor Vehicle Negligence Verdicts & Settlements

Minor Child v. Negligent Driver: A nine-year-old was struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle, a present he received for his birthday the day before the collision. A monetary settlement was reached prior to filing suit. In addition, improvements to the road were made to prevent future incidents.

Driver v. Automobile Insurance Company: Settlement was obtained for our client who was struck by a vehicle while riding a motor scooter; he later died as a result of his injuries.

Minor Child v. School Board: While attempting to board his school bus, our middle school client was run over by another school bus resulting in a fractured pelvis. A settlement was reached days before trial.

Driver v. Tractor Trailer and Automobile Transport Company: Confidential settlement for our client who suffered a stroke after being t-boned by a tractor trailer transporting vehicles. The tractor trailer driver made an illegal u-turn after taking the wrong interstate exit when he collided with our client’s van.

Driver v. Auto Insurance: While pumping gas, a truck crashed into our client's classic car and pushed it over him. Settlement was reached prior to filing suit.

Client v. Trucking Company: Confidential settlement for a client who lost his leg as a result of a collision with a semi-tractor trailer on a rural road at night. The truck ran into the car which was traveling slowly, and should have been avoided. Semi-tractor trailer accidents are particularly bad because they can cause catastrophic injuries. Even though it was a glancing blow to the car, because it was a tractor-trailer, our client lost his leg. Attorneys Lisa Foran and Don Hinkle provided a lifetime of benefits for their client.

Infant v. Pizza Company: At the conclusion of trial, Tallahassee personal injury attorney Mr. Hinkle obtained a $22,500,000 judgment on behalf of his client, a brain injured infant. The defendant’s employee ran a red light while returning from a pizza delivery.

Driver v. at Fault Driver and UM Insurer: Ankle injury settled for a total of $513,000.

Individual v. Insurance Company: Rear-end collision by Deputy Sherriff, resulting in neck fusion surgery. Settlement of $230,000.

Multiple Families v. Trucking Company: Wrongful death claims for migrant workers killed in truck versus van collision. Settlements total $1,200,000.

Individual v. Insurance Company: Settlement of $525,000 in a case involving a $50,000 policy when the insurance carrier failed to settle when it could and should have done so.

Individual v. Insurance Company: Settlement of $5,500,000 with an insurance company who had issued a $50,000 policy. Insurance company failed to settle the case when it could and should have done so resulting in excess award against their insured.

Driver v. Trucking Company: This was a classic “night time underride case” in which our client crashed into the trailer of a semi-truck, which had pulled out and turned left. The headlights of the truck were fully in the opposite lane, but the bed of the truck remained across the highway hidden by the bright lights on the cab. Our client sustained fractured vertebrae and various other injuries resulting in structured settlement that provided him working capital to begin his life anew with a lifetime annuity.

Estate v. Insurance Company: A teenage driver ran a stop sign resulting in the tragic death of young elementary school student on her way to school. The insurance company failed to timely respond to a demand for policy limits and the case proceeded to litigation. Although the insurance company contended that it was not in bad faith because the demand letter was routed to a property adjustor and there was insufficient time to respond, a substantial but confidential settlement many times policy limits was achieved prior to trial.

Plaintiff v. Insurance Company: The defendant ran a red light striking our client who suffered a fractured leg and diffuse axonal injury with mild cognitive deficits. After a hard fought trial, the jury returned a verdict of $724,502.

Estate v. Trucking Company: Policy limits of $750,000 settlement in semi-tractor-trailer accident resulting in wrongful death. The flatbed trailer failed to have proper reflective tape down the side to alert motorists that it was crossing the road in the dark. As a result of this and other cases eventually the federal government required such tape and it became standard practice, thus saving lives and preventing injury.

Driver v. Drunk Driver and Automobile Insurance Company: A teenage drunk driver crossed the centerline and struck our client’s vehicle head-on, causing neurological deficits. A vigorous work-up and presentation of the case resulted in a settlement for $1,500,000.

Driver v. Rental Car Agency: An automobile accident in which our client was hit broadside by a speeding car. Injuries from the car accident included a severe closed head injury and surgery around the eye socket. The jury awarded the $1,337,000.

Estate v. School Board: Settlement of $1,000,000 awarded on behalf of the family of a driver who was killed by a school bus driver that ran a stop sign.

Verdicts & Settlements for Other Areas of Liability

Estate of College Student v. Bar and Fraternity: Ms. Foran obtained a settlement for a family due to the death of their son. Our underage client was served alcohol at a bar during a fraternity event. Later in the evening, he was struck and killed by a vehicle while attempting to walk home.

Young Woman v. Potbelly’s Bar: We obtained a $30.8 million verdict on behalf of a young woman catastrophically injured by an underage driver who became intoxicated at Potbelly’s. We sued the popular student bar for illegally serving an underage patron.

Elderly Patient v. Physician: Settlement for a patient who committed suicide after mistakenly receiving an Anti-Epileptic drug linked to suicidality. Liability cases involving suicide are very challenging and attorney Donald Hinkle spent a great deal of time working up the case. It is common for patients to receive the wrong medication which often causes catastrophic results.

Patient v. Pharmacy: Trial verdict for a woman who received blood pressure medicine instead of her epileptic drug. As a result, she had a seizure. Donald Hinkle won this pharmacy liability case in trial in Leon County.

Estate v. Lounge and Package Store: An 18-year-old high school student was sold beer at a drive through window of a rural package store. He became intoxicated and crossed the centerline striking our client’s vehicle. Our client was in a chronic vegetative state for many months before eventually succumbing to her injuries. Our investigation determined that the female manager often served minors. The settlements of several million dollars provided for the client’s immediate needs (prior to her death) and the future of her child through the careful use of trusts, guardianships and structure settlements.

Estate v. Liquor Store: An underage drunk driver who ran a stop sign killed our client’s husband. Our investigation identified the source of his alcohol and interviews with other young people proved that the store often sold to minors. The high school cheerleaders testified that they bought beer on game nights while wearing their cheerleading uniforms. The case settled on the eve of trial for more than $1,000,000.

Plaintiffs v. County Sheriff Office: For seven years, our clients, both husband and wife, operated an outstanding child day care center without any complaints or allegations of improper conduct of any kind. This all changed when a County Sheriff was “too quick on the trigger” and arrested our client on a capital felony, without probable cause, violating his Fourth Amendment rights. Although the prosecutors refused to even file a criminal case against our client, the arrest caused damage and made it impossible for their business to continue. Mr. Hinkle obtained a jury award of $2,000,000. Unfortunately, the jury’s findings were reversed.

Estate of Child v. Water Park: Our client’s child went to a water park with an Aunt. Poor lifeguard supervision allowed the child to drown. A poorly trained lifeguard saw the child on the bottom of the pool but thought he was a towel and made no immediate effort to rescue the boy. A confidential settlement was obtained prior to filing suit.

Driver v. Farmer: Our client sustained a closed head injury after striking a wandering cow in the road. We obtained a settlement in the amount of $525,000.

Plaintiff v. Police Department: Our intoxicated client was in a disturbance with his sister and her son. They had calmed down before the police arrived. After the police asked, “What happened?” the argument started again and our client’s nephew threw a punch. In separating our client from his nephew, the police officers pushed him out the door and forced his head into the ground causing a subluxation of the vertebrae in his neck. Tallahassee personal injury attorney Mr. Hinkle settled the case for insurance policy limits of $500,000.

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