$2.4M Settlement for Wrongful Death Caused by Tractor-Trailer Driver’s Bad Lane Change | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

What Happened

Our Virginia wrongful client was 38 years old when he died in a crash on a rural highway. The crash was caused by a tractor-trailer driver, and the deceased man left behind a wife and four children.

As described in the official crash report prepared by police, our wrongful death client was riding as a passenger in a car when the tractor-trailer approached from behind. The commercial truck driver hit the rear corner of the car while attempting to change lanes, and that impact caused the car to flip over.

The person driving the car survived with injuries, but we did not represent that individual. Following the filing of insurance claims, the beginning of legal proceedings and an extended mediation process, the widow of our client agreed to accept $2.4 million in settlement of all claims.

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Key Legal Strategy

Our Virginia wrongful death attorney acted quickly to begin legal proceedings in a county where the trucking company that employed the tractor-trailer driver had offices. Concerns existed over the preservation of and access to crash evidence, but we were able to show that the truck driver was at fault.

We also asked a grief counselor to interview our deceased client’s widow and children. The counselor’s subsequent report described the overwhelming sadness and sense of loss that our client’s death triggered.

The grief counselor’s report was so affecting that the principal defendant asked a judge to exclude it as evidence from an approaching civil trial. The court never ruled on that motion because all parties agreed to enter into mediation about a month before the trial began.

The one-day mediation session did not result in an agreement, but the mediator kept all parties in contact with each other. The ongoing exchange concluded with the family of our Virginia wrongful death client receiving $2.4 million.

Wrongful death case settlements and court awards usually include requests for monetary damages that cover sorrow, mental anguish, loss of advice from the deceased person and loss of protection, care and assistance. The report prepared by the grief counselor following this deadly tractor-trailer crash justified all those claims from the surviving family members.