Uninsured motorist action follows injury to retiree after illegal u-turn. $48,250 arb award. Los Angeles.


GEICO makes low-ball offer on uninsured motorist claim following heavy-impact accident. Arbitration took place 15 months after accident.

The Case

  • Case Name: Hooshang Zelli, Faranak Amir Ebrahimi v. Geico General Insurance Co.
  • Court and Case Number: ARC Case No. 28961
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Wednesday, December 30, 2015
  • Date of Arbitration Award : Wednesday, December 30, 2015
  • Date Action was Filed: Tuesday, May 05, 2015
  • Type of Case: Underinsured Motorist, Vehicles - U Turn
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Judge Charles C. Lee, Ret.
  • Plaintiffs:
    Hooshang Zelli, 71, retired.
    Faranak Amir Ebrahimi, 72, retired.
  • Defendants:
    Geico General Insurance Co.
  • Type of Result: Arbitration Award

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $48,250
  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: None.
  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 3 hours arbitration time.
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Claimants are preparing a complaint for bad faith against the respondent.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Scott Broffman, Los Angeles.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Law Office of Beverly Mills by Diane Bartholomew, Glendale.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Experts:
  • Defendant's Medical Experts:
  • Plaintiff's Technical Experts:
  • Defendant's Technical Experts:

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On September 23, 2014, plaintiff Zelli was traveling eastbound on Ventura Blvd in lane three of three at approximately 25-30 miles per hour (at or below the posted speed limit) near Woodland Hills. A large 1993 Ecoline Van owned and operated by an uninsured motorist attempted to make EITHER an illegal left turn OR an illegal U-turn smashing directly into the driver side door of vehicle driven by Zelli, causing extensive frame damage (heavy impact) to the vehicle. Zelli was removed via the passenger side. He sought medical care immediately thereafter.

    Claimant Zelli's wife, Faranak Ebrahimi, was disabled prior to the collision and was not in the vehicle at the time. She filed a claim for loss of consortium.

    Respondent insurer GEICO received all settlement documents and within 40 days, made an offer to settle the claim in the amount of $10, 250 which was rejected. Claimants demanded binding arbitration pursuant to the terms of the policy.

    Following the depositions of both claimants, arbitration was ultimately set more than 15 months after the accident. Claimants are preparing a complaint for bad faith against the respondent.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Claimants contended that there was never any issue concerning liability or coverage; that Zelli was injured in the vehicle collision and required medical care which he sought and obtained. Zelli contended that he could not care for his wife for a minimum of 3 months and that all his medical care was necessary and proper.

    Ebrahimi contended that, due to the accident, she was not provided the care, comfort and support from her husband of over 50 years that she had received prior to the accident. She claimed that, due to her disability, she required full-time care and support from her husband that she did not receive for several months.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    The respondents contended that the injuries suffered by Zelli were soft tissue in nature and that the claim for loss of consortium was not significant. Respondents contended that Ebrahimi should become more independent.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Claimant Zelli claimed significant soft tissue damages that prevented him from his daily routine including providing the care and support his wife needed. Claimant Zelli complained of pain to his head, neck, shoulders, back and knees.

  • Claimant Ebrahimi claimed damages for loss of consortium.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $11,250 as to Zelli only