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‘Air hunger’ opinion a factor in $1.5M settlement

A Raleigh law firm is reporting that it has reached a $1.5 million settlement on behalf of the family of a 44-year-old man who was killed in an automobile accident.

All details of the settlement are confidential. Attorneys at Whitley Law Firm in Raleigh reported that the victim was driving his pickup truck home from a coffee shop early one morning, along a rural two-lane road, when an oncoming commercial van crossed the center line and struck him head-on.

Paramedics arrived shortly thereafter and found him nonresponsive. He was extracted from the vehicle and went into cardiac arrest. He was pronounced dead minutes later at the accident site.

The firm said that an opinion rendered by Dr. Donald Jason, a pathologist, was especially helpful to the case. Dr. Jason described a phenomenon known as “air hunger,” or a severe anxiety, panic and involuntary urge to increase respiration. Jason believed the victim endured this “air hunger” during the time leading up to his death.

Bob Whitley in Kinston represented the plaintiff.

“We were pleased because the family was pleased,” Whitley said. “This was an important chapter to close for the family.”

The victim was survived by his wife, a 6-year-old son and an adult son. The settlement was reached Oct. 24, with Bob Beason of Beason & Ellis in Durham serving as mediator. The firm says it has been successful in collecting the settlement.

Follow David Donovan on Twitter @NCLWDonovan


Case name: Confidential

Mediator: Robert Beason (Durham)

Amount: $1.5 million

Date of settlement: Oct. 24, 2013

Most helpful experts: Dr. Donald R. Jason (forensic pathologist), Dr. Carson Bays (economist)

Attorney for plaintiff: Robert Whitley (Kinston)

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