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Wrongful Death: Traumatic Brain Injury/Motor Vehicle Accident - 2 Million Dollar Settlement

Type of injuries: Traumatic Brain Injury and Death.
Court/Case #: Withheld
Judge or Jury: Mediation
Name of Judge: Not applicable
Special Damages:. Medical bills in excess of $450,000.00
Damages Awarded or Settled: Settled
Amount: $2,000,000.00
Attorney for Plaintiff: Kenneth I. Kolpan, Boston, Massachusetts
Insurance Carrier: Withheld

Other Useful information:

At approximately 12:30 am on August 19, 1992, the decedent, a 16 year old high school senior and his best friend were returning from a restaurant. Neither the decedent or his best friend, who was driving, had consumed any alcohol. As their vehicle entered an unlit intersection, it was broad sided by a vehicle driven by a drunk driver. Each driver claimed he was unaware that they were entering an intersection.

Criminal charges were brought against each driver. The drunk driver pleaded guilty and was sentenced to the House of Correction while charges (driving to endanger) against the decedent's best friend were eventually dismissed.

Through discovery, Boston brain injury lawyer obtained documents that the utility company had scheduled a planned power outage.  The defendant company sent notices to residents in the area.  The company hired Boston Police Department detail to protect its workers where they were working (which was not the collision scene).  The utility company failed to request a detail at the intersection where there was no power and each vehicle entered the darkened roadway unaware it was supposed to be an intersection controlled by lights or a police detail.  The utility company failed to post any warnings to unsuspecting drivers.

Plaintiff's accident reconstruction and night vision experts were prepared to testify that each driver first became aware of the intersection when they saw the headlights of the other vehicle. At that point, the vehicles were too close to one another for the drivers to avoid the collision.

The decedent, who was wearing a seat belt, was rushed to the hospital with significant internal injuries including severe traumatic brain injury. When his condition stabilized, he was transferred to a rehabilitation center where his level of responsiveness improved (e.g. the decedent was able to kick and throw a ball, although in a wheelchair). Unfortunately, eleven months after his tragic accident, the decedent suffered a seizure and died. The medical bills for his treatment exceeded $450,000.00 for which there was a substantial lien.

At the time of his death, the decedent was an outstanding high school senior who had been recruited by a local university to enter a six year undergraduate/medical program. Plaintiff's vocational and economic experts were prepared to testify that, based on the decedent's academic record and family history, it is likely the decedent would have been admitted to college, medical school and become a physician. The decedent was the oldest of four children, all of whom have now gone to college and some to graduate school. Both of his parents had obtained post graduate degrees.

At a full day mediation, a videotape of the decedent's life, including his accolades, accomplishments, injuries and rehabilitation treatment was shown. At the time of the mediation, a defendant's motion for summary judgment was pending.

All defendants contributed to the settlement of two million dollars ($2,000,000.00)