Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Man struck while filling gas tank settles for $800K

Laurie Landsittel//March 18, 2014

Man struck while filling gas tank settles for $800K

Laurie Landsittel//March 18, 2014

Attorney Doug Maynard saw a $50,000 initial offer turn into an $800,000 settlement, and he thinks his client’s testimony under oath played a big part in the resolution of the case.

Michael Gilkerson, 30, was filling his gas tank on the side of the highway in Winston-Salem when he was struck by a man driving a 2007 Jeep. The section of the highway where the collision occurred had no break-down lane. According to Maynard, Gilkerson was over to the side of the highway as far as possible, which was not very far, because there were only two feet between the side of the roadway and the concrete barrier.

Gilkerson had his emergency lights activated and his hood was raised. Gilkerson was filling his gas tank when Chad Snyder’s Jeep, traveling approximately 55 to 60 mph, struck him. He was thrown about 15 to 20 feet, and the impact knocked him unconscious.

Maynard said the underinsured motorist carrier’s initial low offer of $50,000 was due to the defendant’s belief in Gilkerson’s contributory negligence. But, after Gilkerson completed his examination under oath, the carrier offered $700,000.

Maynard said Gilkerson did an excellent job explaining how he put his car over as far on the side of the highway as possible to fill his gas tank and raised his hood and turned on his emergency lights, and that is possibly why the offer increased to $700,000. The entire lawsuit settled for $800,000 — including the payment by the negligent driver’s insurance company.

Gilkerson settled with Snyder’s insurance carrier for the policy limit of $100,000 and he settled with his employer’s underinsured motorist carrier for $700,000. Gilkerson was operating his employer’s pickup truck when the accident occurred. The vehicle’s gas gauge was not working.

Gilkerson was admitted to ICU in critical condition. His injuries included a right ankle fracture, a right leg fracture, a right femur fracture, a spinal fracture, multiple rib fractures, a fracture of his shoulder blade, two partially collapsed lungs, acute blood loss, and multiple contusions and abrasions. He remained in the hospital for 11 days and he underwent three surgeries. Gilkerson received permanent partial disability ratings of 18 percent to his arm, 21 percent to his back, and 15 percent to his right leg.

The police report noted such contributing circumstances to the collision as “inattention” and “operated the vehicle in erratic, reckless, careless, negligent or aggressive manner” for Snyder; and “other” for Gilkerson. No tickets were issued.

The case against Snyder settled for $100,000 in August 2011. The case against Gilkerson’s employer’s underinsured motorist carrier, Star Insurance Co., settled in October 2013.

SETTLEMENT REPORT: Motor vehicle negligence

Case name: Michael S. Gilkerson v. Chad Michael Blevins a/k/a Chad K. Snyder

Case number: 13 CVS 950

Court: Forsyth County Civil Superior Court

Date of Settlement: August 2011 with Snyder; Oct. 15, 2013 with Star Insurance Co.

Amount: $800,000

Plaintiff’s attorneys: C. Douglas Maynard Jr. of Maynard and Harris (Winston-Salem)

Top Legal News

See All Top Legal News


See All Commentary