We settled a wrongful death case for $1,250,000 on behalf of the wife and family of a Georgia man who was killed in a car accident.
This was a very tough and challenging case because the police officer who investigated the wreck incorrectly determined our client was at fault and an eyewitness testified that our client ran a stop sign and caused the wreck.
Through our investigation, we proved the other driver caused the wreck by driving 68 mph in a 45-mph speed limit and had a history of speeding.
One Sunday afternoon, Mr. S left his house and drove to the gas station, planning on filling up his tank for a job interview the next morning. The gas station was at the intersection of Cascade-Palmetto Highway and Cedar Grove Road in Fairburn, Ga. and to get to the gas station, Mr. S needed to make a left turn from Cedar Grove onto Cascade-Palmetto Highway. As Mr. S turned left, he was struck by a van owned by a heating and air company.
Mr. S had to be cut out of his car with the jaws of life and was transported to Grady Hospital, where he ultimately passed away from his injuries.
A witness to the wreck who was driving behind the van testified that Mr. S ran the stop sign at the intersection. The driver of the van also testified that the Mr. S came out of nowhere and must have ran the stop sign. Based on this, the police officer found Mr. S at fault for the wreck and wrote up the police report to state that he ran the stop sign.
Mr. S’ wife contacted us and asked us to investigate what happened. We hired an accident reconstruction expert witness who determined the van had an “airbag module” that would contain data on its speed in the seconds before the wreck. The expert downloaded the airbag module and it showed that 5 seconds before the wreck, the van was going 68 mph – in a 45-mph speed zone.
The data also showed the van did not brake until half-a-second before the wreck, meaning the van driver was not paying attention, and the van was accelerating into the intersection. Here’s the data from the airbag module. The first entry is -5, meaning 5 seconds before the wreck.
The van driver testified that after he struck Mr. S’s car, he ran over the stop sign on the right of the diagram above. The police officer also testified that the stop sign was knocked down in the wreck. Based on this and other evidence, our accident reconstruction expert proved that Mr. S was making a left turn – which meant he did not run the stop sign – and that the police officer and witness were incorrect.
PATTERN OF DANGEROUS DRIVING
During the lawsuit we learned the van was equipped with a GPS tracking system. Every minute, the GPS recorded the van’s location, speed and even the speed limit for the road the van was driving on. We subpoenaed three months of data from before the wreck from the GPS manufacturer and it showed the van driver drove 20 mph over the speed limit on almost a daily basis. Here’s a snippet of the data showing one day that the van driver was going 17 mph, 21 mph, 24 mph and 22 mph over the speed limit:
LAWSUIT & SETTLEMENT
The insurance company for the air conditioning company initially denied responsibility for the wreck. We filed a lawsuit and conducted extensive discovery and investigation in the case, which uncovered some of the evidence we’ve discussed above. We cross-examined the safety director of the air conditioning company and forced him to admit a driver that routinely drives more than 20 mph over the speed limit – like the driver who caused this wreck – is an unsafe driver and should not have been driving for the company.
After more than a year-and-a-half of litigation, the insurance company agreed to a $1,250,000 settlement. While the settlement will never bring back Mr. S, it will help provide financial security for his wife and children. We’re proud to have represented them and helped them achieve justice in this case.