Philadelphia Family Recovers Confidential Amount from a Motor Vehicle Suit

January 18, 2017 by personalinjuryatty.com

On December 18, 2009, a 49-year-old Pennsylvania woman was preparing to make a left turn in her vehicle when she was struck from behind by a truck operated by a male employee of Degler–Whiting, Inc. As a result of the collision, the woman’s car spun into oncoming traffic and was struck by another car moving at 45 m.p.h. She was killed instantly.

Degler-Whiting, Inc. is a 58-year-old athletic and gymnasium equipment supply company servicing New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 28% of crashes involve rear-end collisions. The NHTSA makes the case that forward collision avoidance technologies like Electronic Stability Control (ESC), pre-braking systems and sensors to detect vehicles should be standard for not only passenger vehicles, but commercial trucks. While these systems are gaining popularity in 2014, they were quite rare in 2009, when this accident took place. Such technology might have saved this woman’s life.

The woman was survived by her husband and two adult daughters, who sought recovery for their loss from both the driver and his employer. Both defendants admitted liability for the accident.

The family sought recovery for the woman’s lost earnings and lost earning capacity, among other things. At the time of her death, she earned $22,000 a year as a bus driver for the Krapf Bus Company. They family also sued for severe emotional and psychological loss. The defendants offered to settle the matter for less than $1M before the trial, while admitting to liability at the time of trial.

The Pennsylvania jury heard testimony from both family’s and defendants’ economic experts. Each set of experts offered different economic damages estimates. After four days of trial, the jury only deliberated for five hours. They returned with a $2.254M verdict for the family, which included $1.5 million in survival damages and $754,000 in wrongful death damages.

In keeping with a high-low agreement entered into between plaintiff and defendants, the matter was settled post-verdict for a confidential amount.

According to US Legal Definitions.com, “in a high-low agreement, the parties sets a minimum amount which the defendant will pay to plaintiff if the award is below that amount and a maximum amount that the defendant will pay if the award is more than that amount. A high-low agreement is of use when a plaintiff or defendant or both need to avoid an extreme verdict.”

After the trial, the jurors indicated that since the family lived in the suburbs, they were economically comfortable, and therefore, less in need of compensation.

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