Motor Vehicle Accident Verdicts & Settlements
From motor vehicle accident victories in Columbus, Ohio to the triumph of truth regarding Personal Injury and Wrongful Death cases around the country, we are fortunate to be able to play a part in the successful outcome and resolutions presented in these cases below.
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Vargo v. Motorists Mutual Insurance Co.
The family of Jackie Vargo received $3.1 million in damages and interest in a binding arbitration against Motorists Mutual Insurance Co. seeking underinsurance coverage for damages arising out of her death in an automobile accident in April 1996. In addition to the wrongful death award of $2.8 million, the Vargo family will receive $300,000 in interest. Prior to the arbitration, Motorists highest offer was $900,000.
Ms. Vargo was killed when a Dodge Viper being driven at speeds in excess of 100 m.p.h. struck the car she was driving. Both occupants of the Viper (who were brothers) denied being the driver, and an expert in biomechanical engineering and injury pattern analysis was utilized as an expert to establish which of the brothers was driving.
Annett v. Dlesk Supply Co.
$1.2 million settlement on behalf of a 42-year-old man who was a passenger in a vehicle that was struck in the rear and pushed into oncoming traffic. The collision resulted in a traumatic brain injury that left him with permanent long and short-term memory impairment but no physical injuries.
Ewing v. Abc Delivery Co.
$1.2 million settlement on behalf of family of 6 year old girl who was crushed by a home delivery truck that backed over the girl while on her bike. Defense contended that her death was unavoidable accident on the part of the driver because girl rode her bike too close to the rear of the truck after it had stopped, thus putting her in “blind spot” of rear view mirrors. Defense also contended that absence of audible back-up alarm on fleet delivery truck was not proximate cause of accident since audible alarm would not have provided sufficient warning to girl to permit her escape from harm’s way.
Plaintiff contended that failure to have available rear mounted convex mirrors on back of truck to eliminate blind spot created zone of danger for which defendant’s driver was responsible.
Dorsey v. Campbell Hauling
Settlement for $1,025,000; $850,000 from the tortfeasor and $175,000 from the underinsured motorist insurance company. Beth Dorsey was operating her automobile southbound on I-270 when a dump truck traveling northbound on I-270, crossed the median and continued northbound in the southbound lanes before crashing head-on into Ms. Dorsey’s car. Ms. Dorsey suffered severe and permanent injuries including, but not limited to, fracture of C4 vertebra (which required her to be placed in halo traction for three months), three broken ribs, a concussion, open and compound fractures of her right foot, ankle, and hand, additional fractures in the right leg and arm, and paralysis of the right thoracic nerve.
The driver of the dump truck was declared dead at the scene of the accident. His autopsy revealed that he did not die from any injuries sustained in the accident. Rather, his death was determined to have been due to pseudoephedrine intoxication associated with cardiomegaly.
Defendants asserted the affirmative defense of sudden emergency in an attempt to avoid liability. They alleged that Mr. Campbell, who had a preexisting heart condition, suffered health problems of a sudden onset that caused his death prior to the collision with Ms. Dorsey. However, it was undisputed the amount of pseudoephedrine (a known drug of abuse) found in the truck driver’s body was greater than the recommended dose. In fact, experts testified that the amount found in the driver’s system would require seven times the therapeutic dosage of the drug, or 17.5 tablets of 30 mg strength.
Shoe v. Shrader
$1 million jury verdict on behalf of family of 14-year-old girl killed in car accident. $250,000 awarded for survivorship claim based on evidence that girl survived for 15 – 20 minutes. Pretrial offer by insurance company of $500,000 rejected. (Note: This is one of the only four wrongful death verdicts of $1 million or more in Franklin County in the last ten years. $2.4 million award obtained by Gerald Leeseberg in Lambert v. Shearer in 1991.)
Isse v. Sandhu Logistics
Mohamed Isse was driving his vehicle on I-70 eastbound near Richmond, Indiana, on a snowy night. Defendant’s tractor trailer was operating at an inappropriate speed given the weather conditions. The driver of Defendant’s truck lost control and came left of center across the grass median and crashed into Mr. Isse’s car. Mr. Isse died immediately. Defendant agreed to pay its insurance policy limits to Mr. Isse’s family, as a result of the clear negligence of its driver.
Ali v. Bavarian Motor Transport
Non-English speaking, Somali refugee was driving his vehicle on I-71 eastbound near Cooper Stadium in Columbus, when Defendant’s tractor trailer came left of center across the concrete “Jersey barrier” and into Plaintiff’s lane of travel. Plaintiff suffered a comminuted fracture of the femur (thigh) and radius (wrist). Defendant contended Plaintiff was contributorily negligent for failing to take reasonable action to avoid the collision. Plaintiff’s testimony was presented entirely through a court-approved interpreter.
John and Jane Doe v. Truck Driver
Settlement arising out of reckless conduct of a drunk driver. “Truck Driver” was operating a pick-up truck at excessive speeds while under the influence of alcohol. He sped up in an attempt to get through an intersection before a red light, and smashed into the car driven by John and Jane Doe, an elderly couple, killing them both. Truck Driver had a long history of driving violations, and minimum insurance coverage. However, he was driving a vehicle purchased by his employer, who was well aware of his reckless driving history. Though not working at the time of the accident, the employer was forced to contribute to the settlement due to its negligence in hiring and employing Truck Driver and giving him a vehicle to use, despite his driving record.
Smith v. Motorists Insurance Company
$609,000 jury verdict in underinsured motorist claim affirmed on appeal. Plaintiff, manager of service station, was pinned between frame and bed of dump truck at garage for service when bed closed on her as she began repairs. Tortfeasor, owner of truck, failed to advise Plaintiff of need to prop bed up when doing repairs.
Garwood v. Kirian
Pre-suit settlement for $600,000 total; $200,000 from tortfeasor and $400,000 from the underinsured motorist insurance company. Bud and Goldie Garwood suffered severe injuries after the defendant backed out of a private drive directly into their path. While trying to avoid the collision, the Garwoods’ vehicle lost control and struck an embankment at a high rate of speed.
Mrs. Garwood suffered the following injuries: a partially severed right foot, fracture of her left foot, torn rotator cuff, and multiple cuts and bruises. Mr. Garwood severely fractured his right forearm, which required surgery. The fracture, unfortunately, developed nonunion.
Hilderbrand v. Dilgard
Wrongful death settlement from limited insurance coverage, arising out of vehicular collision in Ashland County. 50 year-old decedent survived by her husband and adult children.
Harrison v. Busic
Settlement for insurance policy limits of $500,000. Kenneth Harrison — a licensed motorcycle operator for the past 26 years — was riding a motorcycle on a residential street when the defendant negligently reversed from a driveway directly into his path of travel. Mr. Harrison was severely injured in the impact. His injuries included segmented and dislocated fractures on the right leg and ankle, a dislocated hip, fracture of the right pinkie finger, and compartment syndrome that required skin grafts. His recovery was further complicated by delayed union of the tibia fracture, which required him to undergo three additional surgical procedures.
Randall v. Padgett
Plaintiff, an alcoholic, was riding a motorcycle that collided with Defendant’s vehicle when Defendant made a U-turn. Defense presented testimony that Plaintiff’s consumption of alcohol was the cause of the collision. Case was bifurcated for trial and the jury returned a verdict for Plaintiff on liability, despite evidence of Plaintiff’s blood alcohol content of .12. Case was settled for policy limits of $300,000.