Chicago Partners Timothy J. Young and Stephen R. Niemeyer obtained an outstanding settlement for a trucking client involved in a wrongful death accident occurring on Interstate 80 in Iowa.
During early morning hours the insured truck driver was maneuvering his tractor-trailer eastbound from a rest area merging on to the interstate when an alleged “phantom car” cut him off causing the driver to lose control and head down the right-side embankment before pulling the rig out and over the interstate to the median separating east and west bound traffic. The tractor-trailer came to rest on its side partially in the median but with the tractor portion sticking into an eastbound lane.
Within minutes of the accident, a “good Samaritan” driving with his friend stopped his vehicle just west of the tractor sticking out into the road and engaged his flashers. The two occupants ran to assist the truck driver. One of the men returned to their vehicle, assuming traffic in the next lane had come to a complete stop. However, one vehicle traveling over 70 mph and being driven by an inebriated Iowa State football fan struck the rear of a stopped vehicle catapulting it towards the assisting man, causing his death.
The decedent was divorced but had four children all living in Poland. Pre-suit mediation was attempted but a settlement was not reached. A suit was thereafter filed in Cook County, where the Chicago team successfully petitioned for removal to federal court. During that hearing, we garnered favorable comments from the judge during a discussion about Iowa jurisdiction. Soon thereafter and before any discovery was undertaken, the case settled for well below the seven figure demand and far less than what was discussed at pre-suit mediation.
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