Posted on February 6, 2019 by Richard F. Connors, Jr. and Jared P. DuVoisin
The firm has assisted a commercial transportation insurer to recover a substantial amount of a settlement that it paid to a personal injury plaintiff. The case involved a multi-vehicle collision, including a commuter bus insured by the firm's client. The plaintiffs' truck was rear ended by the bus. One of the plaintiffs incurred over $1 million in unreimbursed medical expenses and had two spinal fusion surgeries. The firm commenced the underlying personal injury trial, but was able to settle the fusion-surgery plaintiff's claim on favorable terms after a strong opening that the jury responded well to. We then pursued joint tortfeasor contribution against the operator of the plaintiff's vehicle. The owner argued it was the plaintiff's employer and opted to simply ignore the contribution claim, presuming it would "go away" when the underlying case settled. We pursued the claim to a default judgment on liability, making it impossible for the adversary to argue the workers' compensation defense (affirmative defenses are waived by a defaulting party). The firm then had to try the percentages of liability as between the client's bus and the plaintiff's vehicle. Despite the fact it was a "rear end hit" and a vigorous opposition, we were able to achieve a 30% allocation to the plaintiff's vehicle and obtained a judgment of $300,000 (plus interest) to offset part of the settlement payment.
Posted in Auto/Commercial Trucking
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