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Day-In-The-Life Video Aids in $225K Settlement for Man Who Fell From Public Bus

When a public paratransit bus driver deployed the vehicle’s hydraulic lift improperly, a wheelchair-bound gentleman named William fell off the platform. His 300-pound motorized chair crashed on top of him. He was taken to a hospital where radiologists revealed nine fractures in his feet. Adding insult to injury, the fall broke his $40,000 powered wheelchair, stripping him of his independence, mobility, and the activity he loved most: visiting his family. Using a day-in-the-life video showing the physical and human damages resulting from the bus driver’s negligence, John Mittelman of the Mittelman Law Firm represented William against the public transit agency, attaining a $225,000 settlement.

William was a spastic quadriplegic with multiple sclerosis. He was the youngest resident in a skilled nursing home in Southern California who regularly watched his neighbors’ health decline. Nevertheless, he was determined to enjoy his life the best he could. He traveled anywhere and everywhere using his wheelchair and public transportation, waking up as early as 3:30 in the morning to visit his family every week.

On a return trip from his weekly family visits, the bus driver went to help William onto the platform. Unfortunately, the driver failed to check if the lift was secure and level, causing William to roll off, drop four feet, and hit the ground face-first. With his chair broken, William was immobile and robbed of the few things his disease had left him.

Two weeks after the fall, William’s wife contacted John Mittelman, seeking help holding the public agency accountable for the humiliating incident. Before filing suit, John convinced the Defendant’s insurance carrier to advance the funds needed to repair William’s chair. As he prepared for mediation, he wanted an impactful way to communicate William’s anguish stemming from the fall. John called on DK Global to meet with William and tell his story with a day-in-the-life documentary video.

The video began by recounting William’s life before the incident. Using his chin to control his chair, William enjoyed traveling to places as far as Boston to visit family and friends. He shared his love for his wife and daughters, looking forward to the three days out of the week he went home. Three months after the incident, his orthopedic injuries healed, but he was still devastated by PTSD and a distrust of the public bus system. With nowhere to go, William remained at the facility, troubled by the bleak sounds of his older neighbors suffering from illness and dementia. Finally, William shared how the trauma changed his life, imploring the transit agency to make the changes necessary to ensure this tragedy never happens to anyone again.

John shared the video during mediation, allowing the opposing counsel to understand William's pain and suffering. As a result, John obtained a $225,000 settlement for William – about 350x more than his medical expenses.

For over 33 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.

"Without the product, without the settlement video, without the presentation that was put together by DK Global, this case never would have settled pre-filing, and it may never have settled before trial."
John Mittelman – Mittelman Law Firm
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