A $9.5 million judgment was awarded on April 23, in a wrongful death case in Hampden County, Massachusetts. The trial team consisted of Nicholas Rowley and Benjamin Novotny of Trial Lawyers for Justice and Charlotte Glinka and Karen Zahka of Keches Law Group, P.C.
Trial attorney Nick Rowley was kind enough to share a few details from the case:
The decedent, Zoe, was a fifty-two-year-old teacher. She was hit by a negligent driver while she was out walking her dog through a marked crosswalk during the evening. Zoe suffered a traumatic brain injury and hemorrhage and had a Glasgow coma scale of 14 when the paramedics arrived and took her to the emergency room. She had no other injuries, but the brain hemorrhage worsened and Zoe fell into a permanent vegetative state six hours later. She died with her two daughters at her bedside.
Liability was disputed. The defense claimed that lighting conditions made it difficult to see Zoe. The defendant had made a left turn into the crosswalk, and as it turned out, he had a severe left eye visual impairment.
The trial was originally set to last seven days but was completed in two. Each side was limited to twenty minutes for jury selection and thirty minutes each for opening statement and closing argument. A total of $4 million in available insurance coverage was disclosed and the top offer had been $1.2 million.
The jury verdict was for a total of $7 million ($3 million in noneconomic damages for each surviving daughter, and $1 million for Zoe’s predeath pain and suffering), plus $2.5 million in prejudgment interest, for a total over $9.5 million. The verdict has the potential to be doubled and possibly tripled for treble damages against the insurance companies for failing to settle for the policy limits.
To learn more about how Rowley and his trial teams successfully handle trials with limits on voir dire and opening statement, see Voir Dire and Opening Statement by Nick Rowley, Courtney Rowley, and Dr. Wendy Saxon.