The North Carolina-based widow of a Good Samaritan who was killed while trying to help two truckers after a crash on the interstate in Oklahoma has received a $825,000 settlement, according to her Raleigh attorney.
Jay Mills of Burns, Day & Presnell in Raleigh said the decedent, a combat veteran, was walking on the highway toward the two wrecked tractor trailers when a speeding Corvette hit him. Mills said it was an older model Corvette and did not have a black box, so he wasn’t exactly sure how fast it was going. But he said the impact threw the decedent about 200 feet. He died instantly.
Mills argued that the truckers were liable because one had been talking on his cellphone while the other was driving between 35 and 45 mph before the crash, in violation of the posted 55 mph minimum. He argued that their missteps set off the chain of events that resulted in the Good Samaritan’s death. He also alleged that the Corvette driver was liable.
“We really saw it as one accident that had a number of different components. … we argued that the causal chain was never broken,” Mills said. He added that the defense viewed the event as two separate incidents.
“All potential defendants denied liability and alleged contributory negligence by the decedent, while also pointing the finger at one another,” Mills wrote in reporting the settlement to Lawyers Weekly. “However, Oklahoma follows the doctrine of comparative, not contributory negligence, and a plaintiff is not barred from recovery unless his negligence is more than 50 percent of the cause of his injuries.”
The decedent’s widow was appointed as the personal representative of his estate, which allowed her to initiate the claim. An Oklahoma judge approved the pre-suit settlement in January, according to Mills.
SETTLEMENT REPORT – WRONGFUL DEATH
Case name: Confidential
Court: Pre-suit settlement
Mediator: Steven Barghols of Corbyn Hampton Barghols Pierce in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Date of settlement: Jan. 10
Attorney for plaintiff: Jay Mills of Burns, Day & Presnell in Raleigh
Attorney for defendant: Confidential