Traumatic brain injury lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report on a recent jury verdict out of Los Angeles, awarding the plaintiff $58 million, which is one of the largest amounts ever given to one person in California. The victim, 43-year-old Antonio Lopez Chaj, had his skull mercilessly beaten in by an unlicensed, untrained security guard.
The incident took place outside a Los Angeles-area bar, La Barra Latina in Torrance. Chaj was outside the bar, trying to stop a fight between one of his nephews and the bar manager, when the security guard attacked him. The security guard, who was employed with DGSP Security and Patrol Service, kicked Chaj in the head at least eight times, beat him with a metal bar/baton, and then bashed his skull on the pavement four times.
Chaj was immediately taken to the emergency room, where doctors were forced to remove part of his brain and skull. He can no longer speak, needs help to walk, and requires 24-hour care. His skull is permanently deformed, with a huge amount missing from the right side, just above his left ear – in fact, about a quarter of his brain and skull are gone.
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The untrained, unlicensed security guard was never personally charged with the crime, due to a lack of “independent witnesses,” according to the LA Times. The security guard and the bar manager who started the fight Chaj was trying to stop both disappeared before the civil trial. The fight reportedly started because a bartender refused to serve one of Chaj’s nephews, who then insulted the bartender, causing a brawl.
A jury awarded Chaj $35 million for past pain and suffering, $11 million for future pain and suffering, and another $11.5 million for future medical expenses. DGSP will undoubtedly ask the judge to reduce the $58 million amount, and if that fails it will probably appeal.
It took the jury only about two and a half hours to decide on the above mentioned awards, yet Chaj’s brain injury is so traumatic that he needed the decision explained to him. During trial, an investigator for the LAPD testified that the security guard denied to officers that he used a metal baton, though this was clearly not the case. He did not have a license to have a baton on him.
Typically, security companies like DGSP have insurance programs that limit liability to about $1 million. The $58 million decision was made possible because DGSP’s insurance carrier failed to take the necessary steps in the policy, making the liability unlimited.
Further compounding the issue, Chaj was an undocumented immigrant at the time of his beating in 2010. His case illustrates that juries are willing to award those who deserve compensation and justice regardless of their immigration status, pointing to immense progress in the American justice system.
Meanwhile, in upstate California, about 20 people were recently injured after a tree fell on a summer camp dining hall. Fortunately, no children attending Camp Tawonga, which is located near Yosemite National Park, were injured. The 20 injured adults were taken by ground ambulance to Sonora Regional Medical Center, although one who was more seriously injured was taken by air.
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Additionally, during the Fourth of July fireworks display in Simi Valley, California this year, at least 36 people were injured after a major malfunction sent pyrotechnics shooting into the crowd. Between 8,000 and 10,000 people were gathered at the Rancho Santa Susana Community Park in Simi Valley when a pyrotechnic exploded into a mortar, causing a chain reaction, sending firework into the crowd. Victims ranged from 17 months to 71 years, twelve of which were children. Injuries include extensive burns, shrapnel, tramping wounds, and chest pains.
Traumatic brain injury lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have decades of experience advocating for those seriously injured by the negligence or malice of others, and offer free, no-obligation consultations at any time of day or night.