Monica Burneikis

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Personal Injury Attorney in Oakland, CA

Burneikis Law
 | 66 Franklin St, Third Floor
Oakland, CA 94607
Phone: 510-671-8006
Fax: 510-488-4223
Selected To Super Lawyers: 2020
Selected To Rising Stars: 2014 - 2018
Licensed Since: 2005
Practice Areas:
  • Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff
  • Free Consultation
Attorney Profile

A native of San Jose, California, Monica Burneikis is the Founding Attorney at Burneikis Law.  Focusing her practice exclusively on personal injury and wrongful death litigation, she provides representation to clients throughout the Bay Area and other parts of the state. Admitted to practice before all California state courts, Ms. Burneikis is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Ms. Burneikis has been able to obtain millions of dollars in compensation for her clients who have been harmed by the negligence of other persons or entities. In one representative wrongful death case, she achieved a $2 million settlement for the surviving family members of a man who was crossing the street within a marked crosswalk and was struck by a vehicle whose driver kept on going for a period of time before returning to the scene of the accident and telling authorities that he did not see the decedent. Ms. Burneikis’s caseload during her distinguished career has also included motor vehicle crashes, premises liability, defective products, and similar incidents.

Her successes in and out of the courtroom have earned Ms. Burneikis her membership in the prestigious Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an invitation-only organization. Her favorable recognition from her fellow members of the bar has also included a 10.0 “Superb” peer-review rating through Avvo, and she has been named to The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100. In 2018, Ms. Burneikis was one of four finalists, and the only woman, for the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association’s annual Trial Lawyer of the Year award. She is a former president and member of the board of the Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association.

 
Practice Areas
  • 100%Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff
Focus Areas

Motor Vehicle Accidents, Personal Injury - Plaintiff, Wrongful Death, Brain Injury, Premises Liability - Plaintiff

Selections

Selected to Super Lawyers for 1 yearsmiddle-imageSelected to Rising Stars for 5 years

Super Lawyers: 2020 Rising Stars: 2014 - 2018

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About Monica Burneikis

Admitted: 2005, California

Professional Webpage: https://burneikislaw.com/attorney-profile/

Honors/Awards:

  • In 2019, Ms. Burneikis was named one of the Top 100 Civil Plaintiff Attorneys by The National Trial Lawyers., The National Trial Lawyers - Top 100 Civil Plaintiff Attorneys, The National Trial Lawyers, 2019
  • Northern California Super Lawyer Rising Stars, 2014-2020
  • America's Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys, 2020, America’s Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys, 2020
  • In 2018, Ms. Burneikis was named as a finalist by the San Francisco Trial Lawyers' Association ("SFTLA") for the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award. Her case was one of four selected by the SFTLA for the award. Of the four cases selected, only Ms. Burneikis' case and one other were tried by a single attorney; the other two cases were handled by a team of attorneys. Ms. Burneikis was the only female finalist named., Finalist for Trial Lawyer of the Year, San Francisco Trial Lawyers' Association, 2018
  • In 2011, Monica Burneikis was awarded special recognition for "Outstanding Achievement as SCCTLA President", Outstanding Achievement as SCCTLA President, Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association, 2011
  • In 2010, Monica Burneikis was awarded special recognition for "Exceptional Service and Achievement" in serving as a member of the Board of Governors of the Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association, Exceptional Service and Achievement, Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association, 2010

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • California
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of California
  • Board of Governors, Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association, 2011
  • Santa Clara County Bar Association, Judiciary Committee, 2010
  • Santa Clara County Bar Association, Barrister of the Year Award Committee, 2010
  • Santa Clara County Bar Association, Co-Chair of Civil Practice Committee, 2008
  • President, Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association, 2011
  • Board of Governors, Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association, 2009
  • Santa Clara County Bar Association, Chair of the Lawyer Referral Committee, 2011
  • Santa Clara County Bar Association, Board of Trustees, 2010
  • Board of Governors, Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association, 2010
  • Santa Clara County Bar Association, Judiciary Committee, 2011
  • Santa Clara County Bar Association, Board of Trustees, 2009

Pro bono/Community Service:

  • Alameda County Bar Association, Lawyers in the Library, 2015

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

  • Lincoln High School Mock Trial Team, Attorney Coach, 2007 - 2010

Verdicts/Settlements:

  • Settlement Amount: $2,000,000.00 On December 31, 2013, at approximately 3:30 p.m. on a clear, dry day during daylight hours, the decedent, Mr. Smith (an 86-year-old male), was a pedestrian crossing Naples Street at its intersection with Rolph Street, in a residential portion of San Francisco, CA. Mr. Smith was crossing in a marked pedestrian crosswalk and was assisted by a walking cane. The intersection was controlled in all four directions by stop signs. Defendant, driving a Ford F250 pickup truck, approached the intersection and drove through the stop sign. Defendant did not see Mr. Smith and stuck him head-on, knocking him to the ground and running him over. Defendant did not stop his vehicle causing Mr. Smith to be dragged underneath the Defendant’s truck for some twenty feet before ejecting Mr. Smith from under the rear of the truck. The Defendant stopped some distance away and returned to the scene. Surveillance video footage taken from a nearby convenience store captured the incident from two different angles, establishing the horrific nature of this incident and Defendant’s actions in failing to stop at a posted stop sign, then striking, running over, and dragging Mr. Smith beneath his vehicle as Defendant drove through the intersection. In a recorded statement provided to the police, Defendant stated that he had come to a complete stop at the stop sign and remained stopped for approximately one second before proceeding. Defendant was not found to be under the influence at the time of the incident. Defendant had $500,000 in automobile liability coverage for the incident and no excess/umbrella coverage. The parties attempted an early mediation, which was unsuccessful due primarily to a disagreement as to whether Plaintiffs could be successful at maintaining a claim for punitive damages. Plaintiffs expressed confidence that once the Complaint was filed, their claim for punitive damages would survive motions to strike and a summary adjudication motion. Defendant maintained, both at the mediation and thereafter, that Plaintiffs’ chance of keeping such claim viable in the litigation was negligible-—less than 5%. This position by the Defendants contributed to failure of the mediation, and the subsequent settlement discussions spearheaded by a San Francisco plaintiffs’ attorney who was brought in by Defendant to negotiate on Defendant’s behalf. Following the initial mediation, Plaintiffs filed their Complaint, asserting causes of action for negligence and wrongful death, and included a claim for punitive damages. Plaintiffs' successfully defeated two motions to strike Plaintiffs’ punitive damages claim. Specifically, the court found that Plaintiffs’ allegations asserting: (1) that defendant was aware of the stop sign; (2) observed pedestrians in the area; (3) intentionally failed to stop at the stop sign; and (4) continued to proceed even after he struck decedent, were sufficient to enable the trier of fact to conclude that Defendant’s conduct was despicable, thereby entitled Plaintiffs’ to an award of punitive damages. As the case progressed into litigation, Defendant’s credibility became a central issue. For example, on the date of the incident, Defendant told the San Francisco Police Department he had come to a complete stop at the stop sign, proceeded to go, felt that he had run over something, but did not realize it was a person until he turned around and saw a man on the ground. However, at his deposition, Defendant admitted that he did not stop at the stop sign and testified that he did not know he had run over something, but rather thought he had a flat tire, and that when he turned around to look, he still had no idea he had struck and run over a person. Given the angle of the impact being straight on, and the fact that the vehicle drove over Mr. Smith, causing the tires of Defendant’s vehicle to visibly rise and fall, and given that Mr. Smith was dragged, causing Mr. Smith to make contact with the undercarriage of the Defendant’s vehicle, there would have been substantial sensory cues (sounds resulting from the impact with the front of the vehicle and the Mr. Smith’s body hitting and rolling beneath the undercarriage of the vehicle, the feeling associated with the amount of rise and fall necessary to roll over a human body, etc.) to alert the Defendant to the fact that he had just hit and run over a human being, thereby making Defendant’s claim that he was unaware that he had hit a pedestrian questionable. Injuries and Damages: Decedent Smith was 86-years-old at the time of the collision. He had been living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder ("COPD") and had a life-expectancy of 4 years. His medical expenses totaled $31,440. Funeral and burial expenses were $18,000. Financial contribution, social security and value of services totaled approximately $66,000. Approximately three months before trial shortly before the hearing date on Defendant’s motion for summary judgment as to the punitive damages claim, Defendant suggested the parties return to mediation. The case was mediated and settled for a total of $2,000,000.00, comprised of the $500,000.00 insurance policy limits and $1,500,000.00 personal contribution from Defendant., 2016
  • Monica J. Burneikis represented Bilan Kong, a 53-year-old woman who was struck by a motor vehicle on September 12, 2014, at approximately 8:00 p.m. Mrs. Kong was in an unmarked pedestrian crosswalk and nearly half-way through the intersection when the crash occurred. Mrs. Kong immigrated to the United States from China in 1985 when she was 25-years-old. She worked for minimum wage as a seamstress in a garment factory and took English classes at San Francisco City College. She married her husband in 1986, at which point she left her job in order to care for her family. After having three children, Mrs. Kong re-entered the work force in 2001, working as an in-home care provider for the elderly and making minimum wage. As a result of the collision, Mrs. Kong sustained a bimalleolar ankle fracture, a fibula fracture, and a mild Traumatic Brain Injury. She was taken by ambulance to San Francisco General Hospital where she was admitted to the Trauma Unit. The severity of the fractures to her ankle and leg required emergent surgery due to the risk the fracture would puncture through her skin. Mrs. Kong underwent an open reduction internal fixation surgery with the placement of hardware. She remained in-patient at San Francisco General Hospital overnight, after which she was transferred to Kaiser, and then to Saint Francis Heights Convalescent Facility. She was discharged home a week later. Mrs. Kong rehabilitated at home for more than a year. Nine months after the incident, Mrs. Kong underwent a second surgery to remove the hardware in her leg. At 15-months post-incident, Mrs. Kong remained functionally disabled. While she ultimately recovered well, she sustained permanent loss of range of motion in her ankle, primarily with respect to dorsiflexion. As Mrs. Kong convalesced at home, her family began to notice changes in her personality and cognitive function. Due to cultural stigma associated with brain injury, Mrs. Kong denied and dismissed the symptoms for years. After Mrs. Kong was deposed in early 2017, Ms. Burneikis was finally able to convince Mrs. Kong of the need for her to undergo neuropsychological testing. The evaluation revealed Mrs. Kong had sustained clinically significant permanent cognitive sequelae as a result of her head injury. The defense vehemently denied Mrs. Kong had sustained permanent injury to her cognitive function, so much so that the defense retained a neuropsychologist, but opted to forgo conducting their own neuropsychological evaluation. The defense also contested the extent and severity of Mrs. Kong’s ankle and leg injuries. Mrs. Kong incurred $108,864 in past medical expenses and required $13,631 in future medical care. The defense had offered $320,000 to settle Mrs. Kong’s claims before the case was filed. The settlement offer never increased during litigation. Six days before trial, the defense indicated the settlement offer would increase provided Mrs. Kong agreed to reduce her demand to below 7 figures, which Mrs. Kong agreed to do. Five days before trial, in direct contradiction to the representation, the defense informed Mrs. Kong no further settlement offers would be made. The jury returned a verdict for Mrs. Kong of $918,257, comprised of $202,008 in economic damages, and $716,250 in non-economic damages. Mrs. Kong also recovered $20,000 in costs, bringing her actual verdict to just under $940,000., 2017

Newsletters:

  • A study released earlier this month found that San Francisco has the most dangerous drivers in California. The study focused on cities in California with populations over 100,000. Of the 59 cities that fall into this category, 13 are Bay Area cities - San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Berkeley, Richmond, Fremont, Hayward, Sunnyvale, Concord, Vallejo, Daly City, Santa Clara, and Salinas. The study considered several factors, including collision rates, fatality rates, injury rates, and hit-and-run rates. Other contributing factors considered by the study were alcohol, speed, percentage of drivers aged between 15 and 29, total population density, and annual rainfall. The results of this study came on the heels of a report released in November 2016 by a Washington, D.C. based transportation research group, which found that two Bay Area cities – San Francisco and Oakland – have the worst roads of any large urban region in the entire United States. This is the second year in a row San Francisco and Oakland were awarded this dishonor. San Francisco also came in 9th on the list of 20 cities in California that have the highest rate of motor vehicle fatalities. In total, 26 California cities, including San Francisco, have fatality rates above the national average. , San Francisco Home to the Most Dangerous Drivers in California

Educational Background:

  • San Jose State University, B.A. Political Science, 2001
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Comments

  • “Monica is always well prepared, professional, articulate, fair and reasonable, and represents her clients' interests zealously.”
  • “Up and coming star, with excellent trial demeanor and exemplary work habits”
  • “I have practiced with Monica for over 8 years, having handled cases with her and watched her as her trial skills grew to where she deserves a Super Lawyer nomination. She was recently (2017) nominated for the San Francisco Trial Lawyers' Trial Lawyer of The Year for her work on a case where the verdict exceeded the offer by 4 Fold!”
  • “She's a fabulous trial attorney. She is a super lawyer, not just a rising star”
  • “Ms. Burneikis is a former nominee for SFTLA Trial Lawyer of the Year. She is an excellent lawyer and gets great results for her clients.”

These comments were made by fellow attorneys during the annual nomination process.

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Office Location for Monica Burneikis

66 Franklin St
Third Floor
Oakland, CA 94607

Phone: 510-671-8006

Fax: 510-488-4223

Monica Burneikis:

Last Updated: 12/29/2020

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