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Teen struck by distracted driver awarded $350K

Heath Hamacher//March 21, 2016//

Teen struck by distracted driver awarded $350K

Heath Hamacher//March 21, 2016//

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A Raleigh teen struck by an SUV as he crossed a marked crosswalk in 2012 has been awarded $350,000 by a three-arbitrator panel, his attorney reports.


According to Jason Tuttle of Everett Gaskins Hancock in Raleigh, Joshua Lawton, then 14, was crossing Leesville Road Extension when he was hit by a vehicle and thrown several feet into the air. Lawton crashed into the concrete, Tuttle said, breaking his nose and injuring his knee and elbow. He was left with a traumatic brain injury that still rears its head today.
“We’re going on four years (since the accident) and he’s still having issues,” Tuttle said. “It’s a sad case.”
Tuttle said that a police investigation listed speed and distraction as contributing to the accident.
“The driver had turned around to yell at her kids in the back,” Tuttle said.
While liability was accepted, the major issue in the case, Tuttle said, was whether Lawton suffered permanent injury.
“Dr. Finkel did state it was a permanent injury but could not state that he would need treatment for the rest of his life,” Tuttle said. “My thought is, it is a permanent injury but like Dr. Finkel said, miracles do happen and it’s certainly possible that he could recover.”
Finkel is a neurologist with the Carolina Headache Institute.
Tuttle said Lawton still suffers from symptoms of post-concussive headache syndrome.
According to Tuttle, the defense suggested an award of $75,000. The $350,000 arbitration award maxed the uninsured motorist coverage of $300,000.

Follow Heath Hamacher on Twitter @NCLWHamacher

Amount: $350,000
Injuries alleged: Traumatic brain injury
Case name: Lawton v. Bergeron and Nationwide Insurance
Court: Wake County Superior Court
Arbitrators: John McCabb, Joseph Chambliss and John Honeycutt
Case No.: 15-CVD-5804
Special damages: $43,841
Date of verdict: Dec. 31, 2015
Most helpful experts: John Wooten, M.D, of Raleigh and Alan Finkel, M.D., of Durham
Insurance carrier: USAA and Nationwide
Attorney for plaintiff: Jason Tuttle of Everett Gaskins Hancock in Raleigh
Attorney for defendant: David Wisz of Bailey & Dixon in Raleigh

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