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Accident Victim Receives $950,000 from Fresno Car Dealer

Torem & Associates

This unusual wrongful death lawsuit began with a stolen vehicle. Walter Levon McDaniel, who is currently in prison waiting for trial on criminal charges, allegedly stole a vehicle from a Fresno car dealer. McDaniel led police on a high-speed chase that ended when McDaniel struck a vehicle killing Earnest Grant in 2013.

The stolen Infiniti was the third vehicle McDaniel had stolen from My Auto Maxx at the corner of Blackstone and Clinton Avenues. The wrongful death lawsuit alleged that My Auto Maxx and its affiliate, Auto Maxx, were at fault because they did not take adequate steps to prevent McDaniel from stealing the vehicle he was driving when the collision occurred. The Fresno police had warned My Auto Maxx to secure the Infiniti to prevent it from being stolen. The car dealer failed to report the Infiniti as stolen until four days after the theft and apparently lied about the date the vehicle was stolen.

The defendants agreed to settle the wrongful death lawsuit on the second day of trial.  Even though the car dealership agreed to pay $950,000 to settle the claim, it does not admit to any wrongdoing in the death of Earnest Grant. The case has many interesting elements. You can read more about how the case came to trial here.

Settling a Car Accident Claim

In many cases, we settle car accident claims without filing a lawsuit. This is often in the best interest of the parties because it saves them the time and expense of a trial; however, our Fresno personal injury attorneys treat each car accident case as if we are preparing for court. This allows us to present the strongest settlement demand possible to maximize the chance of receiving full compensation for our clients’ injuries.

If the insurance company is dragging its feet and refuses to negotiate in a fair manner, our attorneys will file a lawsuit to force the insurance company to defend the claim. This is important because you only have a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit under California’s statute of limitations. Insurance companies may drag out a claim in hopes that the deadline will pass and the victim will be unable to pursue a lawsuit.

Even though a lawsuit is filed, it does not prevent the parties from negotiating a settlement prior to the beginning of the trial or the end of the trial as in the case above. Sometimes once the trial begins, the defense realizes the strength of the case and wishes to settle rather than take the chance the jury will award a larger settlement.  As experienced trial attorneys, we use every resource available when negotiating with insurance companies and defendants to obtain the maximum compensation allowable by law.

Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident?

The personal injury attorneys of Torem & Associates represent car accident victims in Fresno, CA and surrounding Central California Valley. You can reach Torem & Associates by calling (888) 500-5000 to schedule a free consultation with a Fresno injury attorney.


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