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Home / Top Legal News / Dealership to pay $1M to motorcyclist hurt in hit-and-run 

Dealership to pay $1M to motorcyclist hurt in hit-and-run 


A motorcyclist who was rear-ended in a hit-and-run wreck on Interstate 85 has agreed to a $1M settlement with a used car dealership after evidence strongly implicated a dealership employee who was never charged in connection with the crash, his attorneys report. 



Shawn Howard and Karl Gwaltney of Maginnis Howard in Raleigh report that the impact of the crash sent their client flying from his motorcycle, landing him in the emergency room, where he underwent a lower back surgery. (Many details of the case, including the names of the parties and the venue, have been withheld pursuant to a confidentiality agreement.)

The client later required a second surgery, his attorneys said, and the injuries will affect him for the rest of his life. 

The attorneys said that after the at-fault driver struck their client, he removed his car’s license plate and fled the scene on foot without providing assistance or calling for help. Law enforcement used the vehicle identification number to trace the car to a nearby used car dealership. After being contacted about the crash, the dealership claimed that it didn’t know that the vehicle was missing from its lot. 

“The dealership indicated that an unknown person must have come to the dealership and stole the vehicle, as every employee denied using it,” the attorneys said. 

During depositions, the plaintiff’s attorneys learned that a particular manager/owner at the dealership was responsible for the vehicle and had primary access to its keys. The attorneys said that the crash site was directly on the manager’s route home from the dealership, and cell tower data showed that he’d stopped within a two-mile radius of the scene of the wreck, at the time of the wreck, and remained there for several hours. 



The attorneys said that the manager claimed that he’d gone straight home after work that day and had nothing to do with the wreck and disputed the claim that his phone had pinpointed his location. He also testified to having had at least four convictions for driving while intoxicated. 

“He testified that his wife just happened to destroy his phone on the night of the incident because she caught him talking to his mistress,” the attorneys said. 

Law enforcement closed the case without identifying a driver, the attorneys said, but the dealership paid its $1 million policy limit prior to a hearing on the plaintiff’s motion to amend the complaint to add a claim against the manager. 

Follow Heath Hamacher on Twitter @NCLWHamacher 


Amount: $1 million 

Injuries alleged: Lower back injuries including multiple fractures and herniated discs requiring two surgeries 

Case name: Withheld 

Court: Withheld 

Date of settlement: Oct. 21 

Special damages: $385,000 

Most helpful experts: Ben Levitan (telecommunications expert) 

Insurance carrier: Withheld 

Attorneys for plaintiff: T. Shawn Howard and Karl Gwaltney of Maginnis Howard in Raleigh 

Attorneys for defendant: Withheld 

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