Attorney Michael F. Hupy got a $1.1 million verdict for our client Miguel Rivera on May 16, 2000 after State Farm Insurance Company would make no offer to settle his motorcycle accident claim. His verdict was the largest in Milwaukee County that year.
Rivera was injured in July 1995 when he passed a car driven by Beth Vandeboom, who claimed that she had turned on her left directional signal before turning into her driveway on Stone School Road in Mukwonago. Rivera disputed and said that her directional wasn't on and that he followed her car for half a mile without seeing any brake lights or directional signals activated.
Before the accident, he worked at the Post Office for 20 years and had to take disability retirement that year because of a knee injury sustained in the accident. He also suffered injuries to his ankle and shoulder, accumulating approximately $42,000 in medical bills and lost $50,000 in wages.
He had originally retained another law firm, but that firm dropped him as a client after two-and-a-half years because State Farm would not make an offer to settle his case.
After being dropped, Rivera retained our law firm. We commenced a lawsuit and prepared the case for trial. Among the things we did was find a 1952 model Harley-Davidson motorcycle like the one Rivera was driving so that we could show the jury a video of how the accident occurred. Our investigators, who ride motorcycles, were able to accomplish this important piece of trial preparation.
During the trial, both the plaintiff and defense showed videos of the accident scene to help the jury understand how the accident occurred. Attorney Michael F. Hupy felt that the videos shown by the defense were misleading, so he went to the accident scene during the trial and had additional videos prepared to be presented the following day.
The jury agreed with Attorney Hupy and took the side of our client, awarding $1.1 million to Mr. Rivera.
The Trial's Aftermath
However, State Farm’s attorney asked for a new trial based on alleged erroneous rulings of the court, claiming that the evidence did not support the jury’s finding of negligence; that the amount awarded by the jury for future loss of earning capacity, pain, and suffering was excessive; and that the damages were too high.
Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Michael Sullivan denied all of State Farm’s motions to throw out the verdict and start a new trial, upholding the verdict and ruling that the amounts were supported by the evidence.
After the jury's verdict, State Farm offered to mediate a resolution of the case but Rivera and Attorney Hupy rejected the move.
Sadly, Mr. Rivera's case is typical of many: the victim of someone else’s negligence, injured severely, incurred close to $100,000 in medical bills and lost wages, yet all his first law firm could do before dropping him was procrastinate on his case for over two years.
Hupy and Abraham represents more motorcyclists than any other law firm in the state and we have gotten them million-dollar results.