A man who was injured when he was hit nearly head-on while plowing snow has settled a pre-lawsuit claim with two insurance carriers for $1 million, his attorneys report.
Bob Lucas and Sarah Ellerbe of Lucas, Denning and & Ellerbe in Selma report that their client, whose name was withheld, was driving a commercial vehicle with a snow plow attached to the back of it when the at-fault driver, who had been speeding, lost control of his vehicle, crossed a median, and stuck the client’s vehicle nearly head-on. The wreck, which happened in January 2018 in Durham, caused fractures to the client’s left femur and pelvis.
The at-fault driver had $30,000 in liability coverage, and the client had a $1 million underinsured motorist insurance policy on the commercial vehicle, which he owned, with Donegal Insurance Group, which paid the remaining $970,000.
Lucas described the client as a “large person” who weighed more than 400 pounds when he was injured, and his weight contributed to the severity of the longstanding issues stemming from his pelvic injury. Donegal argued that his weight was a significant factor in the seriousness of his injury, and weight loss would greatly mitigate his long standing medical issues, but the client argued that he had no duty to lose weight, as he had been large all of his life, including on the date of the wreck.
The clients two orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Mark Gage of Duke Medical Center and Dr. John Chiavetta of Raleigh Orthopedics testified the seriousness of the client’s injury, but said that he should be able to return to work, which he had yet to do at the time of the settlement in January.
The client also filed a worker’s compensation claim, which paid for his medical treatment and his time out of work. A lien on the client’s insurance proceeds was waived as part of the workers’ comp settlement.
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SETTLEMENT REPORT – MOTOR VEHICLE WRECK
Amount: $1 million
Injuries alleged: Femur and pelvic fractures
Case name: Claim settled before any lawsuit was filed
Date of settlement: January 2021
Insurance carrier: Donegal Insurance Group (UIM policy)
Attorneys for plaintiff: Bob Lucas and Sarah Ellerbe of Lucas, Denning and & Ellerbe in Selma