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$225K Settlement Using Day-in-the-Life Video for Wheelchair User Who Fell from Bus

When a public paratransit bus driver set up the vehicle’s hydraulic lift improperly, a man fell from the platform, pinning himself between his 300-pound wheelchair and the jagged asphalt. Once at the hospital, medical imagery revealed nine broken bones in both feet. To make matters worse, the fall rendered his $40,000 chair inoperable, robbing him of his independence, mobility, and ability to see his family. John Mittelman of the Mittelman Law Firm represented the man against the public transit agency and attained a $225K settlement using a day-in-the-life video, illuminating his client’s traumas and damages resulting from the Defendant’s inattention.

57-year-old William was a spastic quadriplegic with multiple sclerosis. He permanently resided in a skilled nursing facility in Vista, California. As the youngest resident in the facility, William regularly watched his neighbors decline in health but was determined to enjoy the rest of his life to the best of his abilities. With the help of his powered wheelchair and public transportation, William traveled anywhere he wanted – but most importantly – he would visit his family every week. To prepare for the journey home, William woke up as early as 3:30 in the morning to catch the bus.

During a return trip from one of his weekly family visits, the driver stepped out and assisted William onto the platform as usual. However, the driver forgot to ensure the lift was secure and level, causing William to roll off, fall four feet, and land face-first onto the ground. With his only means of transportation broken, William was stripped of the few things his disease left him, forcing him to remain in the nursing facility.

About two weeks after the fall, William’s wife reached out to John Mittelman. John got to know them both and offered his help in holding the public agency accountable for the humiliating incident. Before filing suit, John successfully persuaded the Defendant’s insurance carrier to advance the funds needed to repair William’s chair. As John prepared to mediate the case, he needed an effective way to communicate the human damages that resulted from the fall. John contacted DK Global to meet with William, document his daily struggle, and create a day-in-the-life video that would award him the justice and compensation he deserved to regain his dignity.

The video captured William’s life before the incident. He controlled his chair with his chin and traveled across the country to visit family and friends. He expressed his love for his wife and daughters, looking forward to the three days out of the week he saw them. While his physical injuries healed about three months after the incident, William was debilitated by PTSD and a lack of trust in the public bus system. Bound to his room, he endured the bleak sounds and depressing atmosphere of his older neighbors struggling with dementia and incontinence. Finally, determined to ensure this event never happens to anyone else, William shared the trauma the incident left him with and urged the transit agency to acknowledge its mistakes.

John shared the day-in-the-life video during mediation and secured a $225,000 settlement for William, about 350x more than his medical expenses.

For over 32 years, John Mittelman has successfully litigated hundreds of medical malpractice and personal injury cases. He is a solo practitioner who dedicates his full attention and energy to each case he takes on. When hired, he handles the entire matter, from intake through settlement or verdict.


"There's no doubt in my mind that without all the great people [DK Global] had involved in this project... that this case would not have resulted in the settlement that it did. Couldn'thave done it without it."
John Mittelman - Mittelman Law Firm
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