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$1.5 Million Settlement for Driver Killed in Collision with Tractor-Trailer

A $1.5 million settlement was reached for a driver killed in a rear-end collision with a tractor-trailer in the middle of the night.

The decedent’s vehicle was rear-ended late at night on Interstate 295. It was struck by a tractor-trailer traveling at highway speeds, causing a fire and his death. According to the truck driver, the decendent’s vehicle was stopped in the road with no lights on and was impossible to see. There were no other witnesses who could provide a description of the descendant’s vehicle prior to the collision. The fire prevented forensic reconstruction of the electrical systems.

The defendant’s trucking businesses that appeared to be associated with the tractor in question were served with notice, and they denied liability. The suit was filed in North Carolina, and the process was personally served on registered agents for the defendant LLCs. A courtesy copy of the complaint and summons was given to the counsel who delivered the liability denial letter. Defendants failed to file reply papers on time, so a default motion was filed. The court heard several arguments about the legality of serving the defendants and continued the case for an evidentiary hearing later. The defendants’ counsel left between hearings, and new counsel appeared.

Plaintiff intended to bring a process server and a private investigator to the second hearing to testify about service of process and the identities of these fly-by-night trucking companies. The court then imposes a partial default judgment in favor of the plaintiff. After financial discovery revealed that the companies were insolvent, a settlement was struck for less than $1 million in available insurance coverage. The minor child of the decedent was the sole beneficiary. Nearly all of the settlement monies were used to purchase a structured settlement. For the next three decades, the descendant’s child will get approximately $1.5 million in quarterly installments. 


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