Arbitrator says plaintiff already received enough insurance compensation, no UIM award due.
- Case Name: Kratter v. Safeco Insurance
- Date of Arbitration Award : Thursday, January 22, 2015
- Type of Case: Underinsured Motorist
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Robert Polis (Ret.)
Plaintiffs: Mark Kratter, screenwriter
Defendants: Safeco Insurance Company (claimant's insurer)
- Type of Result: Arbitration Award
Award as to each Defendant:
Judge Polis awarded total damages of $95,802. Since the award was less than the amounts received in claimant's settlement with the underinsured motorist, the net award was zero damages, less than Safeco's $5,000 CCP 998 offer.
- Trial or Arbitration Time: 2 days
Attorney for the Plaintiff:
Gibson & Hughes by Robert Gibson, Santa Ana.
Attorney for the Defendant:
Demler, Armstrong & Rowland, LLP by Robert W. Armstrong, Long Beach.
Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):
Khawar Siddique, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Pasadena.
Defendant's Medical Expert(s):
Geoffrey Miller, M.D., orthopedic surgery.
Neil Chafetz, M.D., radiology, San Pedro.
Defendant's Technical Expert(s):
Judson Welcher, biomechanics, Long Beach.
Facts and Background
Facts and Background:
Claimant was rear-ended at the intersection of Westwood Boulevard and Kinross in Westwood. He claimed that the accident aggravated a pre-existing back condition, resulting in a microdiscectomy and the need for a future fusion surgery. Claimant settled his claim against the driver who rear-ended him for the policy limits of the driver's $100,000 insurance policy with Mercury Insurance. Claimant then brought an underinsured motorist claim against his own carrier.
That the accident caused an aggravation of his pre-existing back condition and that he also sustained a whiplash injury.
That the forces of the accident were not sufficient to cause an aggravation of claimant's pre-existing back condition and that his $100,000 settlement with Mercury had fully compensated him for all damages that resulted from the collision.
Injuries and Other Damages
Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:
Aggravation of a pre-existing back condition that resulted in a microdiscectomy and would require a future back surgery and lumbar fusion.
Demands and Offers
- Plaintiff Final Demand before Trial: $100,000
- Defendant §998 Offer: $5,000