The family of a young man in San Mateo recently won a $47.5 million settlement—the largest personal injury settlement for a single plaintiff in the state of California’s history. The utility company PG&E and the County of San Mateo reached the settlement with Zachary Rowe and his family the week of June 25, 2018. This result marks the end of a long battle against these two entities that Rowe believes were responsible for an incident that caused extensive physical and emotional damage to him while he was camping with his family in 2012.

Catastrophic Injuries Received While Camping

According to Rowe, he and his family went camping in 2012, when Rowe was 12 years old. While they were sleeping in tents on a designated campground in San Mateo County Memorial Park, a rotted 72-foot-tall tree collapsed onto Zachary’s tent, crushing the sleeping boy while he slept.

As a result of the incident, Rowe received numerous injuries, including a crushed pelvis. Rowe’s medical team determined that in order to keep him alive, they needed to perform an extreme lower-limb amputation, removing his right leg, pelvis, and buttock. After undergoing thirty surgeries, Rowe remained in the hospital for over six months.

Justice at Last

Rowe and his family sued the County of San Mateo, claiming that the company hired by the county in 2007 to check the campsites for dangerous trees, Davey Tree, was negligent and failed to assess this tree as a clear threat. They also sued PG&E and WECI, the contractor PG&E used for its vegetation management, for negligence in their inability to keep the area near its power lines free from hazards.

While these defendants protested these lawsuits and asked the court to dismiss the case without trial, Rowe’s lawyers fought back and defeated each of the four motions to dismiss the case. PG&E and San Mateo County even took their arguments to the Court of Appeal, which ruled that neither one of them was immune from being sued. This ruling established a groundbreaking decision that extends protection to recreational users.

In a statement, Rowe’s attorney, Tim Tietjen, said, “This hard fought victory on behalf of our client will help improve safety throughout California’s campgrounds and public spaces.”

Skilled Personal Injury Attorney Here to Help

No matter where you go this summer, it is important that your safety remains a top priority. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a premises liability accident due to the negligence of a property owner, contact Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation in Murrieta today at (951) 489-3320. We offer free consultations and will dedicate ourselves to winning you the compensation you deserve.