Subject: Verdicts & Settlements January 28, 2008: Mediation used to decide apportionment of insurance

Pub: Virginia Lawyers Weekly

Author: Virginia Lawyers Weekly Staff

Category: Justice

Sub-Category: Courts

Issue Date: 01/28/2008      Word Count: 368

Verdicts & Settlements January 28, 2008: Mediation used to decide apportionment of insurance

by Virginia Lawyers Weekly Staff

Dolan Media Newswires


RICHMOND, VA -- Plaintiff's decedent, Ashley Myers, an 18-year-old high school senior, was killed instantly when the vehicle in which she was a passenger was rear-ended by a tractor trailer on Interstate 66 in the early morning hours of Jan. 28, 2007. Because Ms. Myers and the driver were both killed in the accident, as was the operator of an automobile that had apparently stopped immediately behind them, not all the circumstances surrounding the accident were clear.

In response to questions asked by an investigating state trooper, the defendant operator of the tractor trailer, which was owned by M. Pittman Enterprises LC, indicated he was not aware he had hit two vehicles. Evidence at the accident site suggested the vehicle in which Ms. Myers was a passenger might have stopped in the right travel lane of Interstate 66 because of mechanical problems. The driver of the automobile behind them might have stopped to render assistance. There was evidence that the rear tail lights, including hazard lights, had been activated and were working on the two automobiles at the time of the collision.

There was total liability insurance coverage on the tractor trailer. There were no claims of economic damages, beyond funeral bills, for plaintiff's decedent and her deceased teenage driver. However, the driver of the second automobile involved in the accident left a widow who had significant economic damages in the form of a lost income claim. The plaintiffs first participated in a mediation at which they agreed how the coverage would be divided among them in the event the defendants and their insurance carrier offered the entire amount of the coverage or a jury rendered jury verdicts in the amount of the coverage.

Subsequently, coverage was offered and accepted, and the case settled in accordance with the split of proceeds previously decided upon during mediation.

Type of Action: Wrongful death

Type of Injuries: Death

Name of Case: Administrator of the Estate of Ashley Myers v. M. Pittman Enterprises LC and Mac Kriesch

Date: Dec. 13, 2007 (date of wrongful death compromise approval hearing)

Tried Before: Mediation

Name of Mediator: F. Bruce Bach

Verdict/Settlement: Settlement

Insurer: Empire Fire and Marine Insurance Co.

Plaintiff's Attorney: Douglas A. Barry, Fredericksburg


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