In 2011, the plaintiff’s decedent was operating a vehicle on a Massachusetts roadway when another vehicle, operated by the defendant, allegedly swerved into his lane of travel and struck his vehicle head-on. The force of the impact was severe and the defendant operator died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the crash.
The plaintiff’s decedent was extricated from the vehicle and transported to Lahey Clinic where he was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma resulting in a traumatic brain injury and multiple fractures. His respiratory status was unstable and he was placed on a ventilator. Over the course of his month-long stay at Lahey, his providers attempted to wean him from the ventilator, but he developed multiple infections and needed to be placed back on the ventilator. His neurological status waxed and waned during his hospital stay.
The plaintiff’s decedent was transported to Kindred Hospital where he remained until his death on October 9, 2012. In the ten months following the accident, the plaintiff’s decedent suffered extensive conscious pain and suffering. He required hemodialysis because of suspected trauma to his transplanted kidney caused by the motor vehicle crash. His cause of death was noted to be complications from blunt force head and extremity trauma.
The plaintiff commenced a lawsuit against the defendant’s estate and his employer. The maximum bodily insurance limits on the defendant’s automobile policy were grossly insufficient to satisfy this loss. The automobile insurer paid those proceeds into court, which ended its duty to defend, while the employer’s insurer continued to defend the employer, but reserved the right to disclaim coverage. The parties to the lawsuit agreed to explore settlement of this matter so as to avoid the wasting of estate assets needed to pay the estate’s personal counsel’s fees.
The parties engaged in voluntary confidential discovery regarding the valuation of the defendant’s estate, which included a majority ownership interest in a family-owned and operated company. The plaintiff retained a forensic accountant to assist in the valuation of the estate and the company. While the parties disagreed on the ultimate valuations of both the estate and the company and other issues, the parties were able to reach an agreement regarding the settlement of this case following multiple self-administered settlement conferences between counsel for the parties.
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