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Navy veteran killed in collision with box truck — $1.85M arbitration award

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//September 10, 2023

Navy veteran killed in collision with box truck — $1.85M arbitration award

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//September 10, 2023

Type of action: Wrongful death, auto accident

Injuries alleged: Wrongful death

Name of case: Estate of Wyatt Mankins v. Joro Fleet Services, et al.

Court: Virginia Beach Circuit Court

Case no.: CL22-4253

Tried before: Arbitration

Name of judge or mediator: Judge Charles E. Poston (Ret.)

Date resolved: 2/16/2023

Verdict or settlement: Arbitration award

Amount: $1,850,000

George Albiston
George Albiston

Attorneys for plaintiff: George Albiston and Chris Albiston, Norfolk

Description of case: Plaintiff’s decedent, Wyatt Mankins, a 24-year-old member of the U.S. Navy, was operating his motorcycle on Virginia Beach Blvd. The individual defendant was driving a a 2021 Ford F550 owned by the corporate defendant. He was coming in the opposite direction of Mankins. The defendant negligently attempted to make a left-hand turn across the lanes in which Mankins was traveling. Mankins was forced to lay the motorcycle down and both he and the bike came into contact with the truck. Mankins died at the scene. The defendant was charged and convicted of failure to yield

Chris Albiston
Chris Albiston

As the accident occurred near multiple businesses, a few different camera angles captured the accident. The box truck also contained dash cameras, both forward looking and backwards facing the defendant driver. The cameras showed the defendant looking in other directions and eating a candy bar directly before and during the accident.

The case was mediated before Judge Charles E. Poston (Ret.) and settled for $1.85 million. The defendant corporation’s insurance limits were $2 million. However, there ultimately ended up being a binding arbitration for the distribution of the wrongful death proceeds as there was no agreement regarding the distribution. The statutory claimants included Mankins’ father, mother, brother, half-brother and half-sister.

Judge Charles E. Poston (Ret.) presided over the arbitration. The evidence presented at arbitration was that Mankins’ mother had not had any contact with him since he was 10 years old. There was also evidence that she still owed child support arrearages in regard to Mankins, as his father had physical custody of both him and his brother during their childhoods. It was shown that Mankins was exceptionally close with his father, his stepmother and his brother.

Judge Poston divided the settlement proceeds among the beneficiaries, excluding Wyatt’s mother from recovery. The proceeds were split proportionally between the remaining beneficiaries.

Plaintiff’s counsel Chris Albiston provided case information.


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