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At Avera & Smith, we pride ourselves on the results we achieve for our clients, whether through negotiation or hard-fought trial. Our proven winning court record can help you get the compensation, justice and other outcomes you deserve.

You are never a number or a file to us. We will treat you like family. Let us do the heavy lifting so you can focus on your recovery and getting your life back on track.

Verdicts & Settlements

$9 Million Awarded to Widow of Florida Firefighter Involved in Traffic Accident

In August 2019, an Orange County jury awarded Yvonne Wiederhold $9 million in damages after Domino’s Pizza was found liable for causing the 2011 car accident that left retired Brevard County Fire Rescue District Chief Richard Wiederhold a quadriplegic. A Domino’s Pizza delivery driver turned in front of Mr. Wiederhold, causing him to swerve to avoid a collision, which resulted in his Toyota Tacoma overturning. Richard died from medical complications 15 months after the accident. Avera & Smith partner Mark Avera represented Mrs. Wiederhold.

$5 Million Awarded to Rear-End Crash Victim

In June 2019, an Alachua County jury awarded Kathleen Barrett, M.D., $5 million in compensatory damages for past and future medical expenses, lost earnings and pain and suffering stemming from severe injuries caused by a 2013 rear-end car crash. Dr. Barrett has had to undergo several surgeries and had to resign from her position as a pediatric anesthesiologist because of an inability to properly use her left arm. Avera & Smith partners Rod Smith and Dawn Vallejos-Nichols teamed up with lead counsel Ben Hutson of the Hutson Law Firm to secure the verdict.

$30.8 Million Awarded to Guardians of Woman Who Suffered Traumatic Brain Injury

In August 2019, a Tallahassee jury awarded the parents of Jackie Faircloth $30.8 million in damages stemming from a drunk driving accident in 2014. Potbelly’s a popular bar in Tallahassee, was found liable after one of its employees, who was underage yet purchased 18 beers and six bourbons from the establishment, struck Jackie with his car as she was crossing the road. The driver was intoxicated. Jackie is unable to walk, talk, feed herself or perform any activity of daily living. The Faircloth family was represented by Avera & Smith lawyers Mark Avera and Alex Avera, as well as Don Hinkle of Hinkle Foran in Tallahassee.

$13.5 Million Awarded to Family of Tyrone Dixon in Lawsuit Against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

In February 2019, Avera & Smith partners Rod Smith and Dawn Vallejos-Nichols helped the widow and two children of Tyrone Dixon, who passed away in 1994 from cancer of the larynx at age 38, receive a jury award of $13.5 million. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company must also pay the family an additional $2 million in compensatory damages, bringing the total to $15.5 million.

$3.5 Million Awarded in Berg v. Tiner Communications Service, Inc. Workers’ Compensation Case

Partner Lance Avera secured a settlement of $3.5 million for an employee who suffered a traumatic brain injury when he fell from a tower.

Duval County Jury Awarded $1.1 Million Verdict in Teen’s Balcony Fall Injury Case

A Duval County jury handed down a $1,105,000 verdict in favor of Amanda Fournier for the broken neck she suffered at age 17 from falling through the faulty railing of a residential balcony.

Alachua County Jury Awarded $2.1 Million Verdict in Drunk Driving Injury Case

An Alachua County jury handed down a $2,100,000 verdict in favor of Gainesville native Katherine Gentry for catastrophic injuries caused by a drunk driver in 2012. Avera & Smith Associate Attorney Benjamin Steinberg represented Ms. Gentry.

St. Clair County Illinois Circuit Court Judge Awarded $37.5 Million in Deadly Drunk Driving Case

A St. Clair County Illinois Circuit Court judge awarded plaintiff Lucas Williams $37.5 million for the death of his wife and his own complete disability as the result of a horrific drunk driving crash in 2010. Mark Avera represented Mr. Williams in this out-of-state bench trial.

Avera & Smith Secured $2 Million Verdict Against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. for Family of Deceased Laryngeal Cancer Victim

An Alachua County jury in Florida’s Eighth Judicial Circuit returned a $2 million verdict against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company on behalf of the family of Tyrone Dixon, who contracted laryngeal cancer and passed away in 1994 at age 38 as a result of his addiction to cigarettes containing nicotine. The Dixon family was represented by Avera & Smith partners Rod Smith, Mark Avera and Dawn Vallejos-Nichols.

Marion County Jury Awarded $2.5 Million Verdict in Medical Malpractice Case

A Marion County jury handed down a $2,500,000 medical malpractice verdict to an Avera & Smith client who was the spouse of a patient who passed away after a family practice physician failed to identify the signs and symptoms of a deadly disease. The Ocala jury determined, after a week-long trial, that the patient’s physician failed to meet the required standard of care, resulting in the patient’s death. Mark Avera and Ben Steinberg tried this case to verdict with the support of Avera & Smith staff.

$1.6 Million Awarded in Motor Vehicle Injury Case, Hill v. State Farm

Almost three years after suffering a traumatic brain injury that kept Mr. Hill from continuing his career as a schoolteacher, he learned that he had insurance available from State Farm. Instead of resolving the claim, the insurance company called him a “malingerer” and offered him only $500 for his personal injury, lost wages and pain and suffering damages. In response, he hired Avera & Smith. Rod Smith and Benjamin Steinberg took his case to a jury verdict in federal court in Jacksonville, Florida. The jurors disagreed with the insurance company’s evaluation and awarded our client a verdict of over $1,600,000.

$11 Million Awarded in Workers’ Compensation Case, Quiros v. Builders FirstSource, LLC

When Mr. Quiros finished a long day of work and climbed into the passenger seat of a van owned by his employer for his commute home, he had no idea that his life, and the lives of his wife and three children, would change in an instant. When his co-worker fell asleep at the wheel, the van violently rolled over, and Mr. Quiros suffered catastrophic injuries, including a significant brain injury. After his workers’ compensation benefits were wrongfully denied, Avera & Smith stepped in and brought suit against the responsible parties. Had he been confined to only a workers’ compensation claim, his wife and children would have been entitled to nothing as a result of his injuries. However, after an extremely complex case involving workers’ compensation and personal injury law, Lance Avera and Benjamin Steinberg secured a recovery of over $11,000,000 to benefit his entire family.

$500,000 Secured by Avera & Smith in Personal Injury Case, Farmer v. Safeco

In a case in which the Plaintiff’s foot was run over by the defendant driver at a parade, Lance Avera negotiated a settlement in the amount of $500,000 where the insurance policy limits were only $25,000.

$1.8 Million Settlement in Workers’ Compensation Case, O’Neil v. Centurion

Lance Avera achieved a settlement of $1.8 million for an employee who suffered a traumatic brain injury when he fell off a semi-truck.

Avera & Smith Attorneys Secure Supreme Court Victory: Lucille Soffer v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled in favor of Avera & Smith client Lucille Soffer in a case against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company that will have significant implications for other Engle progeny tobacco-related cases statewide. The Supreme Court ruling reversed a First District Court of Appeal decision from 2012 that affirmed the $5 million compensatory damages verdict in the case, but found that the plaintiff was not entitled to seek punitive damages on the unintentional tort claims for negligence and strict liability. Mark Avera, Rod Smith and Dawn Vallejos-Nichols helped achieve this seminal ruling.

$34.6 Million Awarded to Family for Wrongful Death in O’Hara Estate v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

A Pensacola Circuit Court jury returned a $34.6 million verdict against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company on behalf of the family of Garry O’Hara, a man who passed away from lung cancer at age 50 subsequent to quitting smoking at age 35. Mark Avera, Rod Smith and Dawn Vallejos-Nichols secured the verdict.

$217,500 Awarded in Workers’ Compensation Case, Sledge v. Fresenius Medical Care, N.A.

Lance Avera worked to achieve a settlement of $217,500 for an employee who injured her back at work while lifting a patient. She required several surgeries and lost her ability to work. The insurance carrier continues to be responsible for the client’s medical care related to her work injury.

$2 Million Awarded in Wrongful Death Case, Watts Estate v. USAA Insurance Co.

Mark Avera and Dawn Vallejos-Nichols secured a trial verdict of $2 million awarded to the estate of the deceased, who was killed instantly when a truck operated by Mathews Trucking Company struck his car.

Lance Avera Secured Settlement in Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Case, Smart Estate v. Redwine

The settlement amount is confidential. Plaintiff Smart was operating a motor vehicle in which her daughter, the decedent, Amberlyn Patricia Rand, was a passenger. Defendant Redwine crossed the center line and sideswiped the vehicle operated by the plaintiff. Smart made a claim for personal injuries, as well as a claim for the wrongful death of her daughter. Suit was filed for both claims and settled prior to trial.

Avera & Smith Achieved Settlement in Funderburk Estate v. Jang Lee/JL Trucking Co.

Lance Avera secured a settlement for the plaintiff. The defendant’s driver abandoned the vehicle in a moving lane of traffic on U.S. 301 for the purpose of buying boiled peanuts, causing the decedent to crash into the rear of the truck.

$250,000 Settlement Awarded in Wrongful Death Case, Lipira Estate v. Krishna Rao, M.D., P.A.

Mark Avera secured a $250,000 settlement (physician’s policy limit) for an 80-year-old patient with hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol) who had been prescribed statin medication to control the condition—medication which also may cause rhabdomyolysis, a condition that causes muscle cells to break down and, if untreated or unrecognized, may lead to death. Statin drugs were not discontinued, causing the patient to die of complications from rhabdomyolysis.

Settlements Awarded for Both Worker’s Compensation & Personal Injury in Berry v. Romac Lumber & Supply

Lance Avera achieved a mediated settlement of $235,000 in workers’ compensation disability claim for a worker involved in a motor vehicle accident while driving a company vehicle. Additionally, there was a subsequent mediated settlement for $325,000 for a personal injury claim.

$300,000 Workers’ Compensation Settlement Awarded in Gonzalez v. J.K. Roofing, Inc./ALM Home Services, Cenimark Corp., Crum Resources

Lance Avera secured a settlement in the amount of $300,000, including purchase of an annuity. Gonzalez, an illegal alien working as a roofer, fell from the second story of a building, resulting in traumatic brain injury. The dispute regarding employee/employer relationship resulted in the judge’s decision that this relationship did, in fact, occur.

Settlement Awarded in Tractor Trailer, School Bus Accident Case, Scott v. Crete Carrier Corporation

Mark and Lance Avera obtained a confidential wrongful death settlement in the aftermath of a crash in which Crete Carrier’s driver smashed into the rear of a car behind a stopped school bus, killing two Scott children.

$1.9 Million Settlement Awarded in Personal Injury Commercial Boating Case, Corbin v. Subaqueous Services, Inc.

Avera & Smith attorneys secured $1.9 million in damages to the plaintiff, a commercial crabber whose boat collided with an unmarked dredge pipeline near Horseshoe Beach, Florida.

Settlement Awarded in School Bus, Tractor Trailer Collision Case, Arbuckle v. Comtrak Logistics, Inc.

Mark Avera secured a confidential settlement for a 2008 accident in which a Comtrak Logistics driver crashed into the rear of a Marion County school bus, killing one child and injuring dozens of others.

$2.9 Million Awarded in Wrongful Death Case, Mack Estate v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

Rod Smith and Dawn Vallejos-Nichols achieved a trial verdict in the amount of $2.9M for the estate of Peter Mack, Sr., who suffered from laryngeal cancer and COPD as a result of smoking.

$5 Million Awarded in Wrongful Death Case, Alexander Estate v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

Rod Smith, Dawn Vallejos-Nichols and Mark Avera secured a trial verdict of $5 million. Decedent John Alexander died in 1999 after suffering tobacco-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

$17.5 Million Awarded to Estate in Wrongful Death Case, Hall Estate v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

Rod Smith, Dawn Vallejos-Nichols and Mark Avera secured a trial verdict of $17.5 million to the estate of Lamar Hall, who died in 1995 of lung cancer related to nicotine addiction. This case was the first to be heard in North Central Florida after a landmark ruling by the Florida Supreme Court in 2006, in which the high court upheld a jury verdict finding tobacco companies liable for smoking-related injuries and deaths, but said that smokers and their families must bring individual suits to prove that smoking harmed them. In this case, and others following it, attorneys challenge whether or not the tobacco company concealed or omitted information for decades regarding the dangerous health effects caused by cigarette smoking.

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