A 52-year-old pedestrian struck by a vehicle while crossing the street has settled her case for $400,000, her attorneys report.
Justin Osborn and Seth Beckley of Osborn Gambale Beckley & Budd in Raleigh report that their client was out walking for exercise along Wake Forest Rd. in Raleigh and crossing an unmarked crosswalk when the defendant driver suddenly accelerated and hit her, dragging her several feet. Osborn said that the defendant admitted that he didn’t see the woman or even look her way.
The plaintiff contended that she had the right of way and that the defendant had the last clear chance to avoid the accident. The defendant admitted negligence but argued contributory negligence, a position that Osborn said surprised him.
“The defense’s entire posture was to blame our pedestrian client, who’s walking in a crosswalk, claiming that she had some extra duty to look at the driver and make some sort of nonverbal communication to make sure he saw her,” Osborn said.
The client, a government employee, had preexisting back issues and suffered multiple injuries when she was struck, Osborn said. Despite lingering health effects, she is now back at her desk.
“She had to take a considerable amount of time off because recovery was pretty lengthy and the scarring is pretty serious,” Osborn said. “Luckily, she’s able to be accommodated to get back to work.”
The defendant was represented by William Whitehead of Hedrick Gardner Kincheloe & Garofalo in Raleigh. Whitehead wrote in an email that his client looked both ways as he approached the stop sign but didn’t look to his right a second time. The defense also questioned whether the plaintiff was hit as hard as she contended.
“My client described an impact less significant than that of the plaintiff,” Whitehead wrote.
The defense also noted the time elapsed between the incident and the plaintiff’s surgery.
“Plaintiff did have two prior low back surgeries, and delayed surgery after the accident for three-and-a-half years,” Whitehead said.
Osborn said that his client tried initially tried to treat her injuries through conservative treatment, postponing surgery because she was afraid.
“This is a woman who was terrified to have this surgery done,” Osborn said. “It’s hard to describe how invasive this surgery is. It was a triple-level fusion in her back where they had to go through her abdomen.”
Melinda Evans of Chapel Hill mediated the settlement, which was agreed to on April 1.
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SETTLEMENT REPORT — MOTOR VEHICLE CRASH
Injuries alleged: Back and spine injuries
Case name: Yolanda Curtis v. Michael C. McCray
Court: Wake County Circuit Court
Case No. 19-CVS-12893
Mediator: Melinda Evans of Chapel Hill
Date of settlement: April 1
Special damages: $241,048
Insurance carrier: GEICO
Attorneys for plaintiff: Justin Osborn and Seth Beckley of Osborn Gambale Beckley & Budd in Raleigh
Attorney for defendant: William Whitehead of Hedrick Gardner Kincheloe & Garofalo in Raleigh