Defendant admits liability in high-speed intersection accident but disputes injuries. $2.5M. Orange County.


Tow truck strikes vehicle after failing to stop at traffic light.

The Case

  • Case Name: Maria Barraza v. Hadley Tow; Matthew Ginther
  • Court and Case Number: Orange County Superior Court / 30-2018-01020990
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Tuesday, March 10, 2020
  • Type of Case: Vehicles - Intersection, Vehicles - Truck vs. Auto
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Richard Lee
  • Plaintiffs:
    Maria Barraza
  • Defendants:
    Hadley Tow
    Matthew Ginther
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $2,500,000
  • Net Verdict or Award: $2,796,988
  • Economic Damages:

    Past medical: $121,000

    Future medical: $125,000

    Past lost earnings: $196,000

    Future loss of earnings: $1,200,000

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past: $200,000

    Future $658,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 5 days.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Aitken Aitken Cohn by Atticus Wegman, Santa Ana.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Michael Maguire & Associates by Anson Bui and Akhila Ganapathy, Costa Mesa.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Gerald Alexander, M.D., spine surgery, Orange.

    John Cook, M.D., hand surgery, Newport Beach.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Michael Weinstein, M.D., spine surgery, Newport Beach.

    Shadi Lahham, M.D., trauma surgery, Orange.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Catherine Graves, economics, Fullerton.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff, a 51-year-old female, was struck in her vehicle at an intersection in Anaheim at a high rate of speed by a tow truck that failed to stop at a red traffic signal. Plaintiff was transported from the scene to the hospital.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Plaintiff contended that she suffered a fractured wrist, two fractures to her back and a neck injury that would require a future surgery. Plaintiff’s back did not require treatment and symptoms resolved.

    Plaintiff’s wrist required surgery and is expected to require a future fusion surgery. Plaintiff’s cervical MRI had minimal findings of a 2-3 millimeter disc protrusion with mild central canal narrowing.


  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant admitted liability but contended that plaintiff should have only been out of work for a year and then could resume work full time.

    Further, that plaintiff did not need any future neck treatment. 

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Wrist fractures, back fractures, neck protrusion.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $1,100,000 (after initial demand of $1,000,000 policy limits.)
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $620,000

Additional Notes

Plaintiff asked the jury to award just over $3,000,000 for all damages.

Defendant asked the jury to award no more than $350,000 total for all damages.

Defendants paid the full verdict, plus costs and accrued interest for a total of $2,796,988.