Attorney Randall E. Appleton, of Shapiro, Lewis, Appleton & Favaloro in Virginia Beach, VA, and attorneys with the firm announced a $3.6 million settlement in a wrongful death case involving the collision of a large commercial tractor-trailer and a passenger vehicle, which resulted in the death of a 25 year old man.
A commercial driver in a tractor-trailer rear ended a passenger vehicle on Interstate 64 in Norfolk on December 17, 2009. The plaintiff’s decedent was a passenger in a car driven by a friend who was driving slowly after a tire problem. The two vehicles caught on fire and plaintiff’s decedent, a 25 year old man, was trapped in the passenger vehicle. The trucker, in deposition, admitted that he did not see the passenger vehicle until a few seconds before he hit it. Plaintiff’s counsel also established that the story given by the truck driver to the state troopers was inaccurate.
The defense argued that the driver of the passenger car caused the crash by going 25 mph on the highway at night without hazards on. The plaintiff’s driver going East had gotten off the highway because of the deflated tire, but then got back on the highway going West and drove for a number of miles without determining what was wrong with his vehicle. An independent witness indicated that the passenger vehicle was going extremely slowly and that he was barely able to avoid hitting it himself.
The big rig operator, however, violated several safety rules from the Virginia CDL Manual. Plaintiff’s counsel also uncovered evidence of poorly controlled diabetes which the trucker had failed to adequately treat prior to the crash by not following doctor’s orders and not taking his medication properly. The defendant contested whether the diabetes was a cause of the crash.
The decedent, from Portsmouth, Virginia, was a gainfully employed and responsible person who voluntarily sent child support to his 5 year old daughter. He and the child’s mother had never been married, and did not live together at the time of the wreck. The economic losses were limited to the likely child support and health insurance benefits through age 22 for the child.