Once again, the on-the-ball approach of the de Broglio Attorneys team – and the apparent lack of preparation on the part of the Road Accident Fund (RAF) – has resulted in a bumper payout for a client.
The crack team at de Broglio Inc recently obtained an award of just under R2 million for Shannon Simmonds* (45), who was severely injured in a car accident in October 2007. The accident occurred on Jan Smuts Avenue in Johannesburg, after the insured driver suffered an epileptic fit, causing him to lose control of his vehicle, cross the barrier island and collide with the car in which Shannon was a passenger. Her husband, who was driving at the time, has lodged a separate third-party claim with the RAF.
Shannon sustained multiple injuries in the crash, including a fractured skull, fractured vertebrae, a fractured sternum, and a traumatic brain injury with neuropsychological effects such as irritability, loss of concentration and mood swings.
By the time the matter went to court, she had racked up a whopping R232 000 in medical expenses. In terms of the recent amendment to the Road Accident Fund Act, an injury resulting in a victim becoming 30% or more impaired is considered serious, and her extensive injuries fitted the bill, entitling her to general damages.
In addition, since her accident she has been in “sympathetic employment” as a personal assistant to an insurance broker, but her professional performance has been negatively affected by the psychological consequences of her injuries. Because of this, once her employer retires, experts predict that she will be effectively unemployable.
Bearing all these factors in mind, de Broglio Inc rejected the Fund’s offer of R500 000 all inclusive. However, the RAF brought in no opposing experts to testify on the day of the trial, leading the presiding judge to order the Fund’s counsel to accept the reports from de Broglio Inc’s experts as evidence. The matter was argued for about three hours and that same afternoon, the judge returned with a ruling that the Fund pay Shannon a combined sum of R1.9 million.
Ironically, de Broglio team had been willing to settle the matter for R1.4 million had the Fund come to court better prepared or with a more reasonable and realistic settlement offer.
“This proves, once again, that being prepared and professional not only saves the day, but can also position one to take advantage of the disorganisation of others,” commented Michael de Broglio.
“As Alexander Graham Bell said, ‘Before anything else, preparation is the key to success,’ and I’m pleased to say that our attorneys pride themselves on their detailed and meticulous preparation, which contributes to their fantastic track record on the cases they argue.”
*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality