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Muskegon Car Crash Leads to $300,000 Settlement

Case Type: Third-Party Automobile Negligence

Settlement: $300,000

Plaintiff: Confidential
Defendant: Confidential
Case Number: 15-000768-NI
Judge: Timothy Hicks
Location: Muskegon County Circuit Court
Date of Settlement: November 15, 2016

Facts of the Case

Plaintiff was injured August 4, 2015 at approximately 2:41 p.m. while traveling as a passenger in a 2009 Caravan owned by Defendant's company and being driven by Co-Defendant, an employee of the company. Co-Defendant had no explanation for why the van left the roadway at a high rate of speed and ran into a utility pole at 599 Marquette Avenue in Muskegon. There was no evidence of braking before the impact. Plaintiff was riding as a backseat passenger in the van. Plaintiff was thrown forward striking his head on the windshield. The impact left an impression of Plaintiff’s head in the glass. The impact resulted in a fracture of Plaintiff’s cervical spine (neck) at the C4-C5 level. Plaintiff further suffered from four fractured ribs and bilateral lung collapse.

Types of Injuries and Harm Suffered

  • Broken neck (C4-C5 level, repaired through surgical intervention)
  • Collapsed lungs
  • Four fractured ribs
  • Lacerated spleen
  • Right vertebral artery injury

Other Types of Damages

  • Permanent scarring in front and back of neck from surgery
  • Loss of range of motion in neck

Legal Issues in the Case

  • What percentage fault was attributable to our client for failing to wear a seatbelt?
  • Did the scarring on our clients neck constitute a serious permanent disfigurement?
  • Was there any change in our client’s ability to lead his normal life following the collision and injuries?
  • Was there any sudden emergency that the defendant driver could blame the collision on?

What We Did To Win The Settlement

We filed a lawsuit in Muskegon County Circuit Court against the corporate defendant and driver rather than attempting to resolve the claim pre-suit with the insurance claim representative. We determined early on that the claim representative would not negotiate in good faith. We obtained all of our client’s medical records showing that he had no past history of neck problems. We interviewed all passengers in the van to determine if there is anything that caused the driver to leave the roadway.

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$300,000: Third-Party Automobile Negligence