The estate of a 47-year-old North Carolina woman who was killed by a distracted driver has settled its case for $4 million, its attorneys report.
The plaintiff was represented by Brian Mickelsen and Danny Dalton of Mickelsen Dalton in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, and Walter Wood of the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin in Greenville, South Carolina. At the time of the litigation, Wood worked from his firm’s Durham office. Mickelsen and Dalton were admitted pro hac vice.
The attorneys report that their client died when her minivan was broadsided by a defendant who blew through a stop sign and into the intersection.
Many of the case’s details, including the names of the parties and defense counsel, were withheld pursuant to a confidentiality agreement, although the attorneys said that the case was litigated in North Carolina and settled in April. Michael McDaniel mediated the settlement.
The victim was on her way to the store and preparing to host her young grandchildren for the weekend when the defendant crashed into the driver’s side of her vehicle, Dalton said. Her seatbelt failed and she was ejected, landing on a nearby utility pole. She died soon after arriving at the hospital.
“Her injuries were gruesome, and the loss to the family catastrophic,” Dalton said.
Dalton said that the insurance company argued that the victim should have seen the defendant coming and anticipated the impact, a claim that was controverted by responding officers, photographs, and an inspection of the crash site.
The company also argued that the driver, who was on the job when the crash happened, wasn’t distracted, although Dalton said that numerous social media posts suggest otherwise.
The estate’s attorneys likewise dismissed the defendant’s contentions that the low traces of prescribed painkillers found in the victim’s system caused the collision.
“The insurance company insisted that this beloved grandmother who worked full-time as a daycare worker and substitute elementary school teacher was a drug addict that contributed to her own death,” Dalton said. “The most frustrating part of this case was watching the pain this family went through repeat each time the insurance company came with a new offensive argument.”
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SETTLEMENT REPORT — WRONGFUL DEATH
Amount: $4 million
Injuries alleged: Death
Case name: Confidential
Mediator: Michael McDaniel
Date of settlement: April 2021
Most helpful experts: Mark Valentine (jury consultant)
Attorneys for plaintiff: Brian Mickelsen and Danny Dalton of Mickelsen Dalton in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, and Walter Wood of the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin in Greenville, South Carolina
Attorneys for defendant: Withheld