John Uustal has handled some of the toughest and highest-stakes cases in the United States for victims who have suffered at the hands of corporations and insurance companies.
Over his decades-long career, he has recovered tens of millions of dollars for his clients, driven by his desire to seek justice for people whose rights, lives, and loved ones have been taken away.
John is well known for his investigative skill and his near-obsession with finding the truth. He has uncovered conspiracies, fraud and misrepresentation at some of the largest organizations in the country, often tracking down the smoking gun that definitively wins the case.
John takes on the cases other attorneys are afraid to handle—and he succeeds with remarkable results.
$51 Million for a Quadriplegic whose Seatbelt Malfunctioned
John earned a $51 million jury verdict for Fred W., a former U.S. Marine who was ejected from his car and instantly paralyzed when his seatbelt malfunctioned in a crash. Fred was leaving the night shift at CSX, a railroad company, when another employee (who had also worked all night) fell asleep at the wheel, ran a red light, and T-boned Fred’s General Motors truck.
He became a quadriplegic and required round-the-clock care, which took a huge toll on his wife and six children.
At the scene of the accident, the police marked Fred as “unbelted,” but he was sure that he had buckled himself in. John launched an investigation and discovered that GM knew their seatbelts could unlatch if their cars were hit in a certain way.
John also tracked down an eye witness who remembered seeing Fred’s seat belt hanging out of the window after the crash, which wouldn’t have been possible had the seatbelt been unbuckled. John successfully built a case against GM, CSX, and the other driver and exposed the facts to a jury that then awarded Fred $51 million.
$2 Million for a Pedestrian Hit by a Car
A 60-year-old pedestrian was walking home when a truck gunned it through a stop sign and killed him.
The truck driver was making a left turn and claimed that the pedestrian stepped into the street suddenly, outside of the crosswalk.
To prove that the driver was at fault, John tracked down the truck (which was sold to an out-of-state buyer immediately after the accident) and discovered that it had aftermarket parts that allowed it to go much faster than usual.
He even brought a treadmill into the courtroom and had the defense’s expert witness walk on it to prove that it was impossible for the pedestrian to have walked as fast as the defense claimed he did.
To make the case more challenging, the pedestrian’s partner of 25 years had no legal identity in the case, and his 95-year-old parents had to sue on his behalf. John secured $2 million, a rare and extraordinary verdict for a case with elderly survivors and a 60-year-old victim.
$7 Million for a Motorcyclist Who Was Sold a Fraudulent Helmet
John represented a motorcyclist who missed a jump in a professional dirt bike race and crushed his skull, resulting in a severe brain injury.
Since the motorcyclist had signed a release to participate in the race, the defendants claimed they weren’t liable for his injuries. But John took the matter in a different direction: he turned it into a fraud case and argued that the helmet the motorcyclist purchased did not provide him with the level of safety he had been led to expect.
All of the highest-rated bike and motorcycle helmets are tested and certified by Snell, an independent foundation.
The helmet the motorcyclist was wearing at the time of the accident had a Snell sticker on it, but John discovered that the helmet was not actually Snell certified and had, in fact, never been submitted to the organization. Although the helmet performed fairly well in the crash, it did not perform at the Snell-certified level that the motorcyclist wanted and paid for.
John presented a case to the jury proving that the helmet company had misrepresented its product and they awarded $7 million to the motorcyclist.
$60 Million for a Family whose Son was Killed by an Exploding Fuel Tank
In his first trial, John secured $60 million for a family that lost their son when the fuel tank in their General Motors station wagon exploded and caught fire.
The family had gotten into a minor accident that should not have triggered an explosion.
During discovery, John and his co-counsel uncovered a conspiracy that had been unfolding at General Motors for decades. The company knew that some of their cars had a defect that made fires and explosions possible.
Yet when General Motors crunched the numbers and discovered that it would be cheaper to pay out verdicts to the injured and maimed and families of those killed rather than recall and fix their cars, they kept quiet and covered the defect up.
John obtained the documents that proved the conspiracy and made them public, and he achieved an appropriate verdict for the family.