Type of action: Personal injury, wrongful death
Injuries alleged: Plaintiff 1: Cervical fractures and six rib fractures; Plaintiff 2: Neck and back strains with abrasions; Plaintiff 3: Trauma that resulted in death
Date resolved: 8/16/2021
Special damages: Plaintiff 1: $366,900 in past medical specials; Plaintiff 2: $38,900 in past medical specials; Plaintiff 3: $6,500 in funeral expense
Verdict or settlement: Settlement
Attorneys for plaintiff (and city): Kelly B. Martin and Eric Speer, Richmond
Description of case: In the fall of 2020, the plaintiffs were stopped on a Virginia interstate when they were rear-ended by a tractor-trailer. The tractor-trailer struck several other vehicles. The plaintiffs (a mother, her adult son and her minor son who was under 10 years old) were injured. The mother sustained a broken neck that required two surgeries. The adult son, who was driving, had soft tissue injuries. The minor son was killed in the collision. The minor son was survived by his parents and several siblings.
The driver was a solo owner-operator who had a $1 million single limit liability policy for bodily injury and property damage. As a result of the collision, the tractor-trailer driver’s insurer faced more than a dozen bodily injury and property damage claims.
Shortly after the crash, the plaintiffs filed suit against the driver and a second company that the plaintiffs alleged was the driver’s principal. A global mediation was held with the tractor trailer driver’s carrier early in the case whereby the plaintiffs received 80% of the available coverage.
The court denied the second company’s motion to dismiss based on the plaintiffs’ allegations of agency. As there were concerns about the availability of insurance coverage for the second defendant, the plaintiffs settled with the alleged principal for an additional $300,000.
The plaintiffs were the only claimants to make a claim against the second company as the rest of the claimants who participated in the global mediation settled their claims with what remained of the driver’s insurance coverage.