Settlement Amount: $3.5 Million plus mediation costs
Firm Attorneys Who Handled the Case: Randall E. Appleton and John C.
Date: November 16, 2010
A commercial driver in a tractor-trailer rear ended a passenger vehicle on Interstate 64 (I-64) in Norfolk, Virginia (VA). Our client was a passenger in a car driven by a friend who was driving slowly after a tire problem. The two vehicles caught on fire. Our client, a 25-year-old man, was trapped in the passenger vehicle and lost his life.
The trucker in deposition admitted that he did not see the passenger vehicle until a few seconds before he hit the car. We also established that the story given by the truck driver to the state troopers was inaccurate.
The defense argued that the driver caused the crash by going 25 mph on the highway at night without hazards on. An independent witness indicated that the car was going extremely slowly and that he was barely able to avoid hitting it himself.
The tractor trailer operator, however, violated several safety rules from the Virginia CDL Manual. We also uncovered evidence of poorly controlled diabetes which the trucker had failed to adequately treat prior to the crash by not following doctor's orders and not taking his medication properly. Defendant contested whether the diabetes was a cause of the crash.
Our client, from Portsmouth, VA, was a gainfully employed and responsible person who voluntarily sent child support to his five-year-old daughter. He and the child's mother had never been married, and did not live together at the time of the wreck. The economic losses were limited to the likely child support and health insurance benefits through age 22 for the child. This led to the $3.5 million settlement plus the cost of mediation.