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Personal Injury Attorney Drexler Wins $399K Settlement in Bus Accident Case
On the eve of trial in a contentious bus accident case, vehicle accident attorney David Drexler and his co-counsel, Andrew Jacobs have won a $399K settlement for Cristina Fontanella, a 30-year employee of Los Angeles International Airport.
Fontanella was a passenger on an LAX shuttle bus that rear-ended another shuttle bus and a car, injuring her and several other passengers. Despite the defense’s argument that Fontanella’s injuries were a pre-existing condition from her job, Drexler negotiated the settlement for his client in mediation before the Judge Russell Bostrum, claiming negligence of the bus driver in the vehicle accident.
Fontanella, 54, a long time ticket agent at LAX was heading home at 3:40 p.m. on Valentines Day, 2005. She boarded the shuttle bus to take her to her satellite parking lot after work, but there would be no candy and flowers at the end of this ride. Instead, as the shuttle headed eastbound on Century Blvd., shuttle bus driver Gary Melvin plowed into the rear end of a Dollar Rent a Car shuttle bus, stopped at a red light in a left-hand pocket turn lane. That bus slammed into the Ford Crown Victoria cab directly in front of him causing a devastating accident.
The plaintiff, Fontanella, was flung backwards, slamming her down to the floor of the bus along with several other passengers who were all transported to the Daniel Freeman Hospital via ambulance. She sustained serious injury to her left shoulder and needed two carpal tunnel wrist surgeries following the bus accident. Drexler, who has practiced personal injury law for over 33 years, successfully argued against the claim by the defendant that Fontanella’s injuries came from her job, hauling heavy suitcases and not from the vehicle accident itself.
Fontanella’s claim that the bus driver’s negligence caused the vehicle accident was so compelling, the plaintiff’s attorneys called for mediation before Hon. Russell Bostrum before the start of the trial. The two sides began far apart in negotiations. The defendant offered $200,000 and the plaintiff reduced her demand from $750,000 to $600,000. As negotiations proceeded, “Melvin”, the bus driver, admitted liability in the bus accident.
The defendant’s attorneys served Drexler’s team with a C. C. P. Section 998 in the amount of $250,000. Fonantella’s team replied with a C.C.P. section 998 of their own with a compromise of $585,000. The day before the trial, negotiations rose from $300,000 to $350,000, before finally settling the bus accident case on the $399,000 figure on the eve of the trial.
David Drexler is a preeminent personal injury attorney ( http://www.daviddrexlerlaw.com/