Subject: Verdicts & Settlements March 5, 2007: Death by fire in tractor-trailer collision settles

Pub: North Carolina Lawyers Weekly

Author: North Carolina Lawyers Weekly Staff

Category: Justice

Sub-Category: Courts

Issue Date: 03/05/2007      Word Count: 309

Verdicts & Settlements March 5, 2007: Death by fire in tractor-trailer collision settles

by North Carolina Lawyers Weekly Staff

Dolan Media Newswires


RALEIGH, NC -- Type of action: Tort; tractor-trailer vehicle collision; wrongful death

Name of case: Thomas Billings, Administrator of the Estate of Susan Billings v. Terminal Trucking Company, Inc., et al.

Court/County: Alleghany County

Case no.: 05 CvS 34

Special damages: Funeral expenses, loss of earnings, loss of society and companionship

Verdict/Settlement: Settlement

Date of Settlement: November 19, 2005 and April 18, 2006

Experts: Rolin F. Barrett

Insurer: Travelers Property and Casualty Company of America, The Travelers Indemnity Company of Illinois, The Hartford Insurance Group, and Hartford Fire Insurance Company

Plaintiff's counsel: W. Thompson Comerford Jr. and Clifford P. Britt of Comerford & Britt, LLP

Person submitting: W. Thompson Comerford Jr.

Other Useful Information: Plaintiff was the husband of decedent. Decedent was killed by a tractor trailer while she was traveling on Highway 21, a mountainous and curvy road. The defendant truck driver, acting in the course and scope of his employment for Terminal Trucking Company, Inc., lost control of the tractor trailer while driving downhill in ninth gear. Decedent, traveling with her mother, attempted to pull her vehicle as far as she could against the side of the mountain. Her sport utility vehicle was struck by the tractor and trailer, pinning her inside the vehicle. Her mother managed to escape but Susan Billings was unable to get out of the vehicle. Shortly thereafter a fire broke out in the engine compartment. Bystanders attempted to extinguish it, but it continued to reignite and eventually consumed the vehicle and burned Mrs. Billings to death.

Settlement was complicated by the fact that there was minimal in insurance coverage available. After two mediations the case settled, the balance being paid from the trucking company's assets. Mrs. Billings was survived by her husband, the administrator of her estate, and four children, two of whom were minors and two of whom were adults.

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