$1,000,000 Settlement for Wife of Pedestrian in Wrongful Death Action

A man in the Bronx was crossing the street when he was struck by a van, eventually lapsing into a coma and dying from his injuries a week later. We represented the deceased's wife, though the two were 8 months into divorce proceedings which had not yet been finalized. The van had a $1 million insurance policy, though it was initially unclear who exactly was responsible for paying this sum. Once this was settled, there was some dispute between our client and the deceased's family over how exactly the insurance monies should be dispersed.

Court and County

Supreme Bronx

Description of Case

Plaintiff's husband was crossing Castle Hill Ave via the intersection of Chatterton in the Bronx when he was struck by a van, which was owned by a leasing company. The driver indicated in the police report that the man, who later died, was on the double yellow lines while attempting to cross the street. The driver told police that he was unable to get over to avoid the man because the passenger's side lane was full of vehicles at the time. The police cited "driver inattention/distraction" as an apparent contributing cause.

Driver estimated he was going about 20-25 mph at the time of the accident. The man was taken to the hospital while he fought for his life; unfortunately, a week later, he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead.

Plaintiff was married to the deceased at the time of the accident. They were separated at the time, however, and the divorce papers had been filed but not yet finalized. Deceased had not been supporting plaintiff for about 8 months. This later led to some dispute between plaintiff and decedent's family over how exactly the insurance money would be dispersed.

The maximum insurance amount on the vehicle was $1 million, though it was not immediately clear who was responsible to pay that claim. The driver had rented the vehicle from a leasing company to help perform work for the company he was employed at. Initially, the insurer of that leasing company argued that because the vehicle had been rented by another company, second company's insurer should be responsible for paying the claim. The insurer of this second company did not agree.

We filed a no-fault application with both carriers, and it was eventually determined that between a no-fault insurer of a rental vehicle and a no-fault insurer of the nonowner renter, the primary source of coverage for no-fault benefits is the no-fault insurer of the rental vehicle. Once this was settled, it was only a matter of agreeing on a split of award money between Plaintiff and the family of the decedent.

Injuries

After being hit, Plaintiff's husband was hospitalized and fought his injuries for a week. While he was there, he was responsive to pinprick tests and other stimuli but did not speak. Unfortunately, he lapsed into a coma and died a week later.

Settlement

In March 2015, this case settled for $1,000,000, the full amount of the available insurance coverage for defendant's vehicle.

Attorneys

This case was handled by Daniel P. O'Toole and Scott Occhiogrosso.

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