The wife and children of a North Carolina man killed after a commercial truck hit his car on a country road has confidentially settled a wrongful death lawsuit for $3 million, the family’s attorneys reported.
The man was driving on a rural road in November 2017. A truck driver working for a small company ran a stop sign and slammed into the passenger side of the 60-year-old man’s car, said Hunt Willis, an attorney with Martin & Jones in Raleigh. (Many of the details of the case, including the identities of the parties and the precise location of the wreck, were withheld pursuant to a confidentiality agreement.)
The man suffered catastrophic injuries. Four days later, when it became clear that he wouldn’t regain consciousness, his wife instructed doctors to end life-saving treatment.
“This is a very sad case,” Willis said. “She had to make that decision on their 30th anniversary.”
Forest Horne of Martin & Jones in Raleigh and Bob Whitley in Raleigh also represented the family. Rather than pursuing funeral expenses, lost wages, or other economic damages, the attorneys focused on the relationships the victim had with his family. The defense contended that the victim wasn’t especially close to his children, particularly the ones from his first marriage.
But that was not so, the family’s attorney said. Their team filmed interviews with the family, and during settlement negotiations the attorneys showed videos of when the victim was alive and spending time with his young grandson, images that Horne called compelling.
The defense also contended that the man should have seen the truck and that it wasn’t slowing down, Willis said. Another issue of contention was whether the man suffered after the crash.
Willis said that the treating surgeon’s testimony regarding the aftermath of the wreck was key in the settlement negotiations.
The identities of the attorneys for the defendants were also withheld due to the confidentiality agreement. The two sides agreed to the settlement on Feb. 7.
Follow Bill Cresenzo on Twitter @bcresenzonclw
SETTLEMENT REPORT — AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT
Amount: $3 million
Injuries alleged: Death
Case name: Withheld
Date of settlement: Feb. 7, 2019
Attorneys for plaintiff: Hunt Willis and Forest Horne of Martin & Jones in Raleigh and Bob Whitley in Raleigh
Attorney for defendant: Withheld