$900,000 settlement to a family of a man for a case that required thorough investigation due to the lack of insurance

Thorough investigation of the underlying facts of an accident can often be the key to a successful outcome in a personal injury action. We represented the family of a 51-year-old man who was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident when he was struck, as a pedestrian, by a motor vehicle owned and operated by an older gentleman. The victim, Bill*, tragically died one month later as a result of the neurological and orthopedic injuries he suffered.

At the time of this collision, the responsible driver had bodily injury (BI) liability limits of $100,000. He had no other appli-cable insurance coverage and minimal personal assets. The only viable underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage available was a $1,000,000 insurance policy issued to the owner of the pick-up truck and trailer that Bill was loading when he was struck.

The principal issue in dispute was whether Bill was a covered insured under the UIM policy. Because Bill was not the named insured or a family member, we had to prove that he was “occupying” the trailer or the pick-up truck. In order to do so, they needed to demonstrate that Bill was in physical contact with the vehicles at the time of the collision. This task was made exceptionally difficult because of an incomplete and inaccurate police report issued more than nine months after the incident. Moreover, although several individuals witnessed the collision, only one of them actually saw where Bill was positioned in relation to the trailer and the truck when he was struck. That person gave conflicting statements and he was initially uncooperative.

With the help of a private investigator, we thoroughly reconstructed the accident, and they interviewed and obtained statements from numerous individuals. They also convinced the reluctant key witness to appear for a deposition and prepared him well before his testimony. This painstaking work proved very effective as they were able to persuade the two insurance carriers to pay a total of $900,000 to our clients to resolve this claim.

* A pseudonym has been used to protect the client’s privacy.