Defendant admits liability in high-speed intersection accident but disputes injuries. $2.5M. Orange County.


Tow truck strikes vehicle after failing to stop at traffic light.

The Case

  • Case Name: Maria Barraza v. Hadley Tow; Matthew Ginther
  • Court and Case Number: Orange County Superior Court / 30-2018-01020990
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Tuesday, March 10, 2020
  • Type of Action: Vehicles - Intersection, Vehicles - Truck vs. Auto
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Richard Lee
  • Plaintiffs:
    Maria Barraza
  • Defendants:
    Hadley Tow
    Matthew Ginther
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $2,500,000
  • Net Verdict or Award: $2,796,988
  • Economic Damages:

    Past medical: $121,000

    Future medical: $125,000

    Past lost earnings: $196,000

    Future loss of earnings: $1,200,000

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past: $200,000

    Future $658,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 5 days.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Aitken Aitken Cohn by Atticus Wegman, Santa Ana.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Michael Maguire & Associates by Anson Bui and Akhila Ganapathy, Costa Mesa.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Gerald Alexander, M.D., spine surgery, Orange.

    John Cook, M.D., hand surgery, Newport Beach.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Michael Weinstein, M.D., spine surgery, Newport Beach.

    Shadi Lahham, M.D., trauma surgery, Orange.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Catherine Graves, economics, Fullerton.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff, a 51-year-old female, was struck in her vehicle at an intersection in Anaheim at a high rate of speed by a tow truck that failed to stop at a red traffic signal. Plaintiff was transported from the scene to the hospital.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Plaintiff contended that she suffered a fractured wrist, two fractures to her back and a neck injury that would require a future surgery. Plaintiff’s back did not require treatment and symptoms resolved.

    Plaintiff’s wrist required surgery and is expected to require a future fusion surgery. Plaintiff’s cervical MRI had minimal findings of a 2-3 millimeter disc protrusion with mild central canal narrowing.


  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant admitted liability but contended that plaintiff should have only been out of work for a year and then could resume work full time.

    Further, that plaintiff did not need any future neck treatment. 

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Wrist fractures, back fractures, neck protrusion.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $1,100,000 (after initial demand of $1,000,000 policy limits.)
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $620,000

Additional Notes

Plaintiff asked the jury to award just over $3,000,000 for all damages.

Defendant asked the jury to award no more than $350,000 total for all damages.

Defendants paid the full verdict, plus costs and accrued interest for a total of $2,796,988.


This is not an official court document. While the publisher believes the information to be accurate, the publisher does not guarantee it and the reader is advised not to rely upon it without consulting the official court documents or the attorneys of record in this matter who are listed above.

© Copyright 2022 by Neubauer & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.