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Mother killed, father injured in T-bone auto accident — $4.6M settlement

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//February 7, 2022

Mother killed, father injured in T-bone auto accident — $4.6M settlement

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//February 7, 2022

Type of action: Wrongful death, personal injury

Injuries alleged: Wrongful death of wife; pelvic and arm fractures of husband

Court: Loudoun County Circuit Court

Date resolved: 10/22/2021

Verdict or settlement: Settlement

Amount: $4,600,000

Attorneys for plaintiff (and city): Peter C. Burnett, Donald S. Culkin and Seth R. Lindberg, Leesburg

Description of case: These claims arise out of a two-car crash in which the defendant was alleged to have run a red light at an intersection through which husband and wife were passing. Through settlement and court approval of the wrongful death settlement, the defendant persisted in his assertion that his light was green despite statements to the contrary from witnesses.

The defendant had a $500,000 single limit liability policy and a $5 million umbrella with a different insurance company. Both carriers wanted the cases negotiated together.

Decedent driver was a modestly employed mother of three sons, ages 14, 23 and 28 at the time of the accident. Her injured husband was a front-seat passenger in the vehicle. She was driving him to his job at a big box store at the time of the crash.

The decedent, in addition to being a devoted mother to her sons, was the guardian of an 8-year-old girl that she raised from infancy for whom she was a supportive and loving mother. Remarkably energetic, she found time to volunteer frequently at the Salvation Army, work the midnight shift at the local homeless shelter and coach one son’s travel football team.

The surviving husband suffered pelvic fractures that required hardware for fixation. He underwent two surgeries to address his pelvic injuries. Prior to the accident, he was employed as a store clerk for 18 years. Now, he is unable to work. He continues to struggle with activities of daily living including climbing stairs, showering and preparing the kids’ lunches. Despite his best efforts, a return to gainful employment and being able to care for his family is speculative, at best.

The adjuster for the umbrella carrier was highly experienced and professional. The settlement amount was likely enhanced by the extensive use of structured settlements for the four wrongful death settlement recipients, none of whom has experience managing a substantial amount of money.


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