$1.85 Million Wrongful Death Settlement: Truck Driver Attempts Turn Into Motorcyclist’s Lane, Causing Death - Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

RESULTS: $1.85 Million Wrongful Death Settlement

COURT: Virginia Circuit Court

DATE: 2022/2023


ATTORNEYS: Richard N. Shapiro, Eric K. Washburn

STAFF: Paula S., Heather G.



A young Navy servicemember man was operating his motorcycle on Virginia Beach Boulevard in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and at the same time and place, a truck driver attempted to make a left turn from the opposite direction on Virginia Beach Boulevard. The truck driver had a duty to yield to all approaching traffic before making his left turn but failed to keep a proper lookout and notice the approaching motorcycle. The truck struck the motorcyclist while the bike was traveling at approximately 45 m.p.h., throwing him from his motorcycle and causing a traumatic brain injury to the motorcyclist, who tragically died as a result of the collision at the scene.

Fortunately, the Virginia Beach Police charged the truck driver with violations of Virginia’s traffic laws, including failing to yield the right-of-way when making a left turn against opposing traffic. The Virginia Code motor vehicle statute relating to yielding before making left turns states:

Va. Code § 46.2-825. Left turn traffic to yield right-of-way.

The driver of a vehicle, intending to turn left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction if it is so close as to constitute a hazard. At intersections controlled by traffic lights with separate left-turn signals, any vehicle making a left turn when so indicated by the signal shall have the right-of-way over all other vehicles approaching the intersection.

Our law firm was retained by the mother of the motorcyclist. We promptly acted to have a representative appointed in the circuit court to represent the motorcyclist’s estate, and our firm filed suit and subpoenaed available information, including a key surveillance video that visually showed the truck driver violated Virginia law and was the cause of the crash and the death of the young Navy enlisted man who had only been stationed at the Norfolk navy base for a brief time. After filing the wrongful death suit, our firm chose to enter an agreement with affiliated counsel who was retained to represent the motorcyclist’s father and brother.


Our primary initial strategy was to file suit and issue subpoenas for all available information relating to the cause of the crash, and we successfully obtained the surveillance video which was used together with other evidence to convince the insurance company of the merit of our claim. Additionally, we communicated with the company employing the truck driver and began a dialogue with the attorneys representing the business supplying the truck and employing the driver. Later, during the wrongful death lawsuit, our affiliated counsel entered an agreement to mediate the case with the truck driver’s company and its insurance carrier. As a result of the voluntary mediation with a retired Virginia circuit court judge, the case was settled during the wrongful death litigation for the sum of $1.85 million by affiliated counsel on behalf of all beneficiaries.

THE RESULTS:  $1.85 million settlement