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Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP is an award-winning Trial Law Firm Representing & Defending Those Who Have been Wronged Or Injured.

Our Team

Jeffrey R. Smith

Jeffrey R. Smith

Managing Partner

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Robert B. Waldsmith

Robert J. Waldsmith

Partner, 1999

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William B. Smith

William B. Smith

Partner, 1978

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When Other Attorneys Need Help Taking A Case To Trial,

They Call Us.

Some of Our Results

$850,000

Settlement
Plaintiff sustained a brain injury when he was performing tackling drills under the supervision of a school coach

Our client v. St. Bernard’s High School.

Result: $850,000
Result Type: Settlement
Injury Type: Brain Injury
Summary: Plaintiff, a high school football player, sustained a brain injury when he was performing tackling drills.
Read More

$850,000

Settlement

Plaintiff sustained a brain injury when he was performing tackling drills under the supervision of a school coach

Our client v. St. Bernard’s High School.

Result:$850,000 settlement.

This incident occurred during Fall Practice for high school football at St. Bernard’s High School, a Catholic high school in Eureka, California. Plaintiff sustained a brain injury when he was performing tackling drills under the supervision of a school coach.

Plaintiff was injured when he was “face tackling” another player. Plaintiff argued that face tackling is an illegal and dangerous tackling method because it increases the risk of head and neck injury. Defendant argued that the tackling method was acceptable and that plaintiff assumed the risk of injury by participating in the contact sport of tackle football. After considerable discovery the case settled.

$3,043,491

Arbitration + Settlement
Contra Costa County Superior Court. Result: $3,043,491 ($2,268,491 binding arbitration award and $775,000 in settlement).

Our Client v. Sand Hill Ranch Motocross Park, et al.

Result: $3,043,491
Result Type: Arbitration + Settlement
Injury Type: Serious Personal Injury
Summary: Plaintiff paid to ride motorbike at park, suffered injuries due to poor course management.
Read More

$3,043,491

Arbitration + Settlement

Contra Costa County Superior Court. Result: $3,043,491 ($2,268,491 binding arbitration award and $775,000 in settlement).

Our Client v. Sand Hill Ranch Motocross Park, et al.

Result: $3,043,491 ($2,268,491 binding arbitration award and $775,000 in settlement).

Facts: Our client paid a $20 fee to ride his dirt bike at Sand Hill Ranch Motocross Park in Brentwood, California, and signed a release that waived many of his rights to make claims against the park. He began to ride his motorcycle on Sand Hill Ranch’s 40 acres of trails. He took one trail that unknowingly led him off Sand Hill Ranch’s property and onto the property of a neighbor, the Brentwood Rod and Gun Club. That trail led to a 25-foot man made cliff, the visibility of which was obscured by a tree. Our client rode his dirt bike around the tree at approximately 20 mph, and unsuspectedly drove off the cliff. He landed on several large boulders at the base of the cliff.

As a result, our client suffered serious injuries, including a comminuted fracture of his right wrist and a T7 burst fracture. He underwent spinal surgery to install hardware to fuse T3-T9. He missed 15 months from his employment.

Plaintiff claimed negligence and gross negligence against Sand Hill Ranch Motocross Park and the Brentwood Rod and Gun Club for failing to warn our client about the boundaries of the motocross facility and the presence of the dangerous cliff. Defendants contended 1) that the release signed by plaintiff barred his claim, 2) that plaintiff assumed the risk of injury by participating in motocross as a sporting activity, 3) that plaintiff negligently caused his injuries, and 4) that recreational immunity under Civil Code Section 846 also barred plaintiff’s claim.

Plaintiff settled with the Brentwood Rod and Gun Club for $750,000 prior to trial and with the trucking company that dumped the boulders at the base of the cliff for $25,000. The insurance company that had previously insured Sand Hill Ranch Motocross Park refused to defend or indemnify Sand Hill Ranch in this case. On the eve of trial, plaintiff agreed to an assignment of right against Sand Hill Ranch’s insurance carrier and broker, and to submit the case to binding arbitration. The arbitrator awarded plaintiff $2,268,491 in damages against Sand Hill Ranch Motocross Park.

$5,500,000

Settlement
Plaintiff sustained a brain injury when he was performing tackling drills under the supervision of a school coach

Our client v. State of California

Result: $5,500,000
Result Type: Settlement
Injury Type: Premises Liability
Summary: Unsafe speed signs by CalTrans led client to crash at an upcoming, unexpected curve in road.
Read More

$5,500,000

Settlement

Settlement during jury deliberations in a dangerous condition of public property case against Caltrans

Our Client v. State of California

On May 20, 2000, our 23-year-old client was a passenger in a new 1999 Mazda Miata driven by his girlfriend, headed to Stinson Beach from San Francisco on a clear and sunny day. From Stinson Beach, they drove further north on State Route 1 toward the Point Reyes Lighthouse. The driver saw that the speed limit increased from 35 mph to 55 mph just north of the Town of Olema. The driver increased the speed of the Miata to approximately 60-65 mph in the straightaway following the 55 mph speed limit sign. Then, within 1200 feet of the 55 mph speed limit sign, the driver came upon a curve in the road.

The State of California owns State Route 1. Although it is unknown when this portion of State Route 1 was originally designed or constructed, Caltrans widened the original 18-foot, two-lane road to a 32-foot wide roadway in the early 1980’s.

The curve in issue, one mile north of the Town of Olema and one mile south of Point Reyes Station, has an undisputed design speed of 35 mph based on its radius of curvature. All other geometric measurements of the curve indicated that it was a 35 mph curve. However, there was no sign in advance of the curve warning that it was only a 35 mph curve on a road with a 55 mph speed limit.

The driver lost control of the Miata while attempting to negotiate the curve. The Miata left the roadway, went up an adjacent embankment, and rolled one and a half times. It landed upside down back on the roadway. The driver subsequently admitted to the CHP that she was going “too fast” for the curve at 60-65 mph.

The airbags deployed in the incident and the seat belts remained fastened on both the driver and the passenger, our client, as they came to rest upside down in the vehicle. The driver was able to unfasten her seat belt and remove herself from under the car. She sustained a laceration on her head when it scraped against the pavement during the incident, causing her to lose some hair and requiring seven stitches to close the wound. Our client suffered fractures to his C4-6 vertebrae, rendering him an immediate C4-5 quadriplegic. He is permanently confined to a wheelchair and has virtually no use of his arms and legs.

Plaintiff brought a case against the State of California for a dangerous condition of public property (Government Code §835). The case went to trial before The Honorable Lynn O’Malley Taylor in Marin County. Plaintiff’s experts in traffic engineering testified that the curve in issue was a dangerous condition because Caltrans posted a 55 mph speed limit sign 1200 feet before a 35 mph curve without providing any warning to motorists of the curve’s limitations. Plaintiff claimed that the curve created a trap for the unwary. Plaintiff’s experts further opined that the curve’s radius, length, and super elevation violated Caltrans’ standards, and that it was compound in nature (it had a diminishing radius).

The State claimed that the only similar incident, which involved a motorcycle in 1993, occurred seven years before this incident and more than 3 million vehicles safely negotiated the curve without incident between that prior incident and the subject incident. Thus, the curve could not be dangerous to those using due care and the State had no notice of any condition that was dangerous. It also claimed that the curve was readily apparent and clearly visible to approaching motorists, so no warning sign was necessary. It further claimed that the single vehicle rollover was solely caused by the negligence of the driver.

After the jury deliberated for a week, our client reached a settlement with the State of California for $5.5 million

Some of Our Results

$850,000

Settlement
Plaintiff sustained a brain injury when he was performing tackling drills under the supervision of a school coach

Our client v. St. Bernard’s High School.

Result: $850,000
Result Type: Settlement
Injury Type: Brain Injury
Summary: Plaintiff, a high school football player, sustained a brain injury when he was performing tackling drills.
Read More

$850,000

Settlement

Plaintiff sustained a brain injury when he was performing tackling drills under the supervision of a school coach

Our client v. St. Bernard’s High School.

Result:$850,000 settlement.

This incident occurred during Fall Practice for high school football at St. Bernard’s High School, a Catholic high school in Eureka, California. Plaintiff sustained a brain injury when he was performing tackling drills under the supervision of a school coach.

Plaintiff was injured when he was “face tackling” another player. Plaintiff argued that face tackling is an illegal and dangerous tackling method because it increases the risk of head and neck injury. Defendant argued that the tackling method was acceptable and that plaintiff assumed the risk of injury by participating in the contact sport of tackle football. After considerable discovery the case settled.

$3,043,491

Arbitration + Settlement
Contra Costa County Superior Court. Result: $3,043,491 ($2,268,491 binding arbitration award and $775,000 in settlement).

Our Client v. Sand Hill Ranch Motocross Park, et al.

Result: $3,043,491
Result Type: Arbitration + Settlement
Injury Type: Serious Personal Injury
Summary: Plaintiff paid to ride motorbike at park, suffered injuries due to poor course management.
Read More

$3,043,491

Arbitration + Settlement

Contra Costa County Superior Court. Result: $3,043,491 ($2,268,491 binding arbitration award and $775,000 in settlement).

Our Client v. Sand Hill Ranch Motocross Park, et al.

Result: $3,043,491 ($2,268,491 binding arbitration award and $775,000 in settlement).

Facts: Our client paid a $20 fee to ride his dirt bike at Sand Hill Ranch Motocross Park in Brentwood, California, and signed a release that waived many of his rights to make claims against the park. He began to ride his motorcycle on Sand Hill Ranch’s 40 acres of trails. He took one trail that unknowingly led him off Sand Hill Ranch’s property and onto the property of a neighbor, the Brentwood Rod and Gun Club. That trail led to a 25-foot man made cliff, the visibility of which was obscured by a tree. Our client rode his dirt bike around the tree at approximately 20 mph, and unsuspectedly drove off the cliff. He landed on several large boulders at the base of the cliff.

As a result, our client suffered serious injuries, including a comminuted fracture of his right wrist and a T7 burst fracture. He underwent spinal surgery to install hardware to fuse T3-T9. He missed 15 months from his employment.

Plaintiff claimed negligence and gross negligence against Sand Hill Ranch Motocross Park and the Brentwood Rod and Gun Club for failing to warn our client about the boundaries of the motocross facility and the presence of the dangerous cliff. Defendants contended 1) that the release signed by plaintiff barred his claim, 2) that plaintiff assumed the risk of injury by participating in motocross as a sporting activity, 3) that plaintiff negligently caused his injuries, and 4) that recreational immunity under Civil Code Section 846 also barred plaintiff’s claim.

Plaintiff settled with the Brentwood Rod and Gun Club for $750,000 prior to trial and with the trucking company that dumped the boulders at the base of the cliff for $25,000. The insurance company that had previously insured Sand Hill Ranch Motocross Park refused to defend or indemnify Sand Hill Ranch in this case. On the eve of trial, plaintiff agreed to an assignment of right against Sand Hill Ranch’s insurance carrier and broker, and to submit the case to binding arbitration. The arbitrator awarded plaintiff $2,268,491 in damages against Sand Hill Ranch Motocross Park.

$5,500,000

Settlement
Plaintiff sustained a brain injury when he was performing tackling drills under the supervision of a school coach

Our client v. State of California

Result: $5,500,000
Result Type: Settlement
Injury Type: Premises Liability
Summary: Unsafe speed signs by CalTrans led client to crash at an upcoming, unexpected curve in road.
Read More

$5,500,000

Settlement

Settlement during jury deliberations in a dangerous condition of public property case against Caltrans

Our Client v. State of California

On May 20, 2000, our 23-year-old client was a passenger in a new 1999 Mazda Miata driven by his girlfriend, headed to Stinson Beach from San Francisco on a clear and sunny day. From Stinson Beach, they drove further north on State Route 1 toward the Point Reyes Lighthouse. The driver saw that the speed limit increased from 35 mph to 55 mph just north of the Town of Olema. The driver increased the speed of the Miata to approximately 60-65 mph in the straightaway following the 55 mph speed limit sign. Then, within 1200 feet of the 55 mph speed limit sign, the driver came upon a curve in the road.

The State of California owns State Route 1. Although it is unknown when this portion of State Route 1 was originally designed or constructed, Caltrans widened the original 18-foot, two-lane road to a 32-foot wide roadway in the early 1980’s.

The curve in issue, one mile north of the Town of Olema and one mile south of Point Reyes Station, has an undisputed design speed of 35 mph based on its radius of curvature. All other geometric measurements of the curve indicated that it was a 35 mph curve. However, there was no sign in advance of the curve warning that it was only a 35 mph curve on a road with a 55 mph speed limit.

The driver lost control of the Miata while attempting to negotiate the curve. The Miata left the roadway, went up an adjacent embankment, and rolled one and a half times. It landed upside down back on the roadway. The driver subsequently admitted to the CHP that she was going “too fast” for the curve at 60-65 mph.

The airbags deployed in the incident and the seat belts remained fastened on both the driver and the passenger, our client, as they came to rest upside down in the vehicle. The driver was able to unfasten her seat belt and remove herself from under the car. She sustained a laceration on her head when it scraped against the pavement during the incident, causing her to lose some hair and requiring seven stitches to close the wound. Our client suffered fractures to his C4-6 vertebrae, rendering him an immediate C4-5 quadriplegic. He is permanently confined to a wheelchair and has virtually no use of his arms and legs.

Plaintiff brought a case against the State of California for a dangerous condition of public property (Government Code §835). The case went to trial before The Honorable Lynn O’Malley Taylor in Marin County. Plaintiff’s experts in traffic engineering testified that the curve in issue was a dangerous condition because Caltrans posted a 55 mph speed limit sign 1200 feet before a 35 mph curve without providing any warning to motorists of the curve’s limitations. Plaintiff claimed that the curve created a trap for the unwary. Plaintiff’s experts further opined that the curve’s radius, length, and super elevation violated Caltrans’ standards, and that it was compound in nature (it had a diminishing radius).

The State claimed that the only similar incident, which involved a motorcycle in 1993, occurred seven years before this incident and more than 3 million vehicles safely negotiated the curve without incident between that prior incident and the subject incident. Thus, the curve could not be dangerous to those using due care and the State had no notice of any condition that was dangerous. It also claimed that the curve was readily apparent and clearly visible to approaching motorists, so no warning sign was necessary. It further claimed that the single vehicle rollover was solely caused by the negligence of the driver.

After the jury deliberated for a week, our client reached a settlement with the State of California for $5.5 million

expertise

Catastrophic Injury

A catastrophic injury can alter your life in an instant. People suffering from a brain injury, spinal cord injury or other severe injury will require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitative therapy and other long-term care. In addition, they may never be capable of earning the same income as they did before the accident.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

A catastrophic injury can alter your life in an instant. People suffering from a brain injury, spinal cord injury or other severe injury will require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitative therapy and other long-term care. In addition, they may never be capable of earning the same income as they did before the accident.

Sexual Abuse & Molestation

A catastrophic injury can alter your life in an instant. People suffering from a brain injury, spinal cord injury or other severe injury will require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitative therapy and other long-term care. In addition, they may never be capable of earning the same income as they did before the accident.

Catastrophic Injury

A catastrophic injury can alter your life in an instant. People suffering from a brain injury, spinal cord injury or other severe injury will require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitative therapy and other long-term care. In addition, they may never be capable of earning the same income as they did before the accident.

Other Practice Areas

A catastrophic injury can alter your life in an instant. People suffering from a brain injury, spinal cord injury or other severe injury will require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitative therapy and other long-term care. In addition, they may never be capable of earning the same income as they did before the accident.

Sports Injuries

A catastrophic injury can alter your life in an instant. People suffering from a brain injury, spinal cord injury or other severe injury will require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitative therapy and other long-term care. In addition, they may never be capable of earning the same income as they did before the accident.

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  • San Francisco, CA 94105
  • 415-325-2535
  • 415-421-0912
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