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Motor Vehicle Collision, Wrongful Death, Unemployed 78 Year Old - $750,000 Settlement

Injuries alleged: Wrongful Death Traumatic Brain Injury
Tried before judge or jury (or mediation): Mediation
Special Damages:
$ 5,401.95 (medicals)
$16,164.00 (funeral expense)
Amount (specify award or settlement): $750,000.00
Date (of verdict or settlement): October 26, 2009
Highest Offer: $750,000.00

Attorney for plaintiff(s) and city of office:

Kenneth I. Kolpan
Law Office of Kenneth I. Kolpan, P.C.
175 Federal Street
Boston, Ma. 02110

Person who can verify report, including telephone and fax numbers (not for publication):

Kenneth I. Kolpan
Law Office of Kenneth I. Kolpan, P.C.
175 Federal Street
Boston, Ma. 02110

Other useful information:

On July 31, 2008, decedent left her apartment and crossed the street to go to a local coffee shop. It is not known whether or not she was in a cross walk.  At the same time, the defendant operator drove his company van in to the apartment parking lot to drop off passengers. Instead of making a U turn in the parking lot, the defendant van driver, drove backwards out of the parking lot onto and down the street where the van ran over the decedent.  The van had no back up or rear view camera.  His rear window was partially blocked by medical equipment he was transporting.

While lying on the ground, decedent was speaking to witnesses, even though she had sustained significant degloving injuries to her arm and chest. She remained conscious during transport to the local emergency room as evidenced by the ambulance medical records. However, ninety minutes later, the she passed away.

Suit was brought against the defendant van operator, his employer (the registered owner of the van) and the apartment parking lot management company. Plaintiff alleged that the operator negligently operated the van in failing to make a U turn in the parking lot before exiting. Police investigated the incident but did not charge the defendant operator.

Plaintiff also alleged that the defendant management company allowed vehicles to park in the Fire Lane of the parking lot making it difficult for the defendant operator to execute a U turn while in the parking lot.

At the time of the incident, the 78 year old decedent was retired, living independently in senior housing apartment building adjacent to the parking lot. She was a mother of six children and grandmother of nine grandchildren.  The decedent was the matriarch of a large Italian family, well known in the North End Community of Boston.

Plaintiff brought the wrongful death claim for conscious pain and suffering and loss of consortium.  Since the decedent was unemployed at the time of the incident, there was no evidence of net loss of income to the Estate, one of the damages recoverable under the Massachusetts Wrongful Death Statute. 

Plaintiff's counsel retained award winning cinema photographer Terry Tainter of Seattle, Washington to make a settlement demand DVD, which was submitted to the insurers. Upon receipt of the DVD and before any depositions were to be taken, the insurer requested that the parties submit the claim to non-binding mediation in Boston with well-known mediator, Paul Finn of Commonwealth Mediation. After a full day's mediation, the claims against defendant operator and his employer were settled for $750,000.