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Drunk Driving Client Story

Off-Duty Police Officer Rear-Ended by Drunk Driver Worried About His Career

David Iorillo
Drunk Driving Accident - $100,000

When you're a street cop in a big city, you're pretty much prepared for almost anything, almost all of the time. This is especially so of motor officers, a special breed of peace officer that patrol our streets on motorcycles. But David Iorillo, a motor officer for the San Diego Police Department, was caught off guard when he was rear-ended by a drunk driver while riding his personal motorcycle, off duty.

It was the last thing David expected. It was close to Christmas - Dec. 8, 2002. David was on his personal motorcycle and stopped for a red light at Ted Williams Parkway and the 15 Freeway. He was waiting to turn onto the freeway when he got hit from behind. It all happened in a flash. The next thing he knew he was on the ground, off his bike, laying in the intersection.

"I jumped to my feet," he said. "I saw that a Porsche Boxter had hit me from behind. I had been catapulted off my bike and landed in the intersection."

It was a frightening scenario for David. It was fortunate he had not been run over by cross traffic vehicles. He suffered injuries to his knee, groin and back. As an officer who has made drunk driving arrests his business, he knew instantly that the woman driver was intoxicated. Using a phone from a passerby, he called the police. Sure enough, the woman was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Recovery wasn't an easy or quick process. He had to undergo knee surgery. He went through physical therapy for both his back and knee. It wasn't easy psychologically because David, only 27 years old at the time of the accident, feared that the injuries could put an end to the career that he loved.

"As a patrol officer I worried incessantly about getting back to my job," he said.

But after his surgery and therapy he went back to work on "light duty" for six months and gradually got back to regular duty - back on a motorcycle. But it wasn't an easy process. Soon after the accident he started looking for an attorney to help him sort out the legal issues and represent him in dealing with the driver's insurance company.

"The first place I looked was online," he said. "And that's how I found Bisnar Chase. I was impressed by their Web site and the way they presented their information. Their Web site was also among the highest rated. I could see that they knew what they were doing and were an established firm for many years."

He called the firm two days before Christmas in 2002. He promptly got a call from the firm's senior partner, John Bisnar.

"It was really nice of him to call me himself," David said. "We talked for a long time and he agreed to take my case."

"Honestly, what I expected was to get $40,000 to $50,000," he said. "I expected an attorney from Bisnar Chase to represent me at the mediation with the insurance people. But I was surprised to see John show up and do the mediation himself. I was very impressed and it showed me that he really cared about me. The way he handled the mediation and the result he got was truly amazing."

John pushed the insurance company to accept his $100,000 demand, David said.

"In the end I got $60,000 after attorney's fees, medical expenses and everything else, which was a lot more than I had hoped to get," he said. "It really helped at a time when I had to pay medical and therapist bills."

My attorneys mediated payment of the medical bills and the insurance reimbursement, which took another load of my shoulders and increased my net recovery, David said. Getting personal attention, extra help and guidance were the last things I expected from personal injury attorneys, a group that until now, I thought of as being "ambulance chasers" and "money-grubbing sharks" he added.

"Well, as a police officer, I've interacted with a lot of defense attorneys," he said. "So when I interact with an attorney, I expect them to be condescending."

But that was not the case at all with John and his staff, David said. They were absolutely honest, matter-of-fact and easy to talk to, he said. They were prompt in returning his calls and attending to his case, David said.

He was shocked to find out later that the drunk driver who hit him got off with a six-month license suspension.

"It's been five years since the accident and I still have physical problems because of it," he said. "She could have ended my career right there. I could've been without a job, without a career and done. I'm really, really lucky that didn't happen. And all she gets is a six-month license suspension?"

"John always told me 'We're going to do the best we can' and he would put me at ease," he said. "He gave me a new perspective of what attorneys are like. I still wonder about why he took the time of day to come to San Diego for that mediation himself. But I'm really happy he did."

David says he has recommended Bisnar Chase to several other people who've needed the help of an attorney.

"I give them referrals all the time because I had a great experience with them," he says. "I've never hesitated to recommend them. And once when I recommended them, they actually sent me a care package to thank me for the referral. I thought it was very nice of them to do that."

And David doesn't just hear from them over the phone when he gives them a referral.

"Every Christmas I get a card from them," he says. "Every birthday over the last five years, I've gotten either a box of chocolates in the mail from them or a coupon for Baskin and Robbins. Five years later after my case was over and done with, they still remember me and I'm very touched by that."

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