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Whitley Law Firm Settles Wrongful Death Case for $1.4 Million

Whitley Law Firm is proud to announce that attorneys Robert E. Whitley and Ann Ochsner were recently successful in securing a pre-suit settlement of $1.4 million on behalf of their client.

The case revolved around the wrongful death of a 23-year-old man who left behind a mother, a father, a 19-year-old brother and a girlfriend of seven years. The young man was a self-employed mechanic who worked on refurbishing automobiles and boats for resale after he had completed courses in mechanics and welding at a community college in Carteret County, North Carolina.

While traveling through Georgia, however, the car in which the man was riding was rear-ended by a tractor trailer and he sustained injuries that would prove to be fatal.

When Attorney Whitley took on this case, he knew that there would be a few bumps along the way, as the Georgia wrongful death law would apply whether the case was represented in North Carolina or Georgia.

This was problematic because these laws base damages on loss to the descendant rather than loss to the beneficiaries, which would have been the case in North Carolina. Since the deceased did not have any dependents at the time of his death, Mr. Whitley was worried that the jury would remain unsure of how to award damages to his client.

This became even more evident when he presented the circumstances of the case to focus groups in North Carolina, as he discovered that jurors like to know who will be receiving what. Simply put, he knew that a jury might struggle with the question of who would benefit from an award.

Because of this, Robert E. Whitley decided to enlist the help of Francis W. Rushing, an economist in the state. Since Georgia law places value on the deceased’s lifetime expected earnings when deciding on the appropriate amount of damages, it was critical that this number was computed accurately. Once this figure was approximated, all parties agreed to participate in mediation—including the two insurance companies that were covering the defendant’s vehicle.

In the end, both sides were able to agree to a pre-suit settlement of $1.4 million, which included special damages of $8,844 for funeral expenses and $1,200 for the burial. The client was more than happy to walk away with this substantial amount of compensation and the firm as a whole was happy to have reached a favorable conclusion on their behalf.

If you have recently endured the loss of a loved one under negligent circumstances, as well, you should not hesitate to find out how the Whitley Law Firm can assist you. Call today for a free initial consultation.