Michael Young Wins Defense Verdict in Underinsured Motorist Case

April 18, 2013

RRD Associate Michael Young obtained a defense verdict on behalf of an insurance company in an underinsured motorist case on April 11, 2013.  The plaintiff, a teacher at Stamford High School, was walking down a sidewalk towards her husband's car after school and came to a stop at the edge of the sidewalk next to a private driveway for the school.  The plaintiff claimed that as she approached the driveway the tortfeasor entered the driveway at an unreasonable rate of speed.  The plaintiff also claimed that the tortfeasor failed to maintain reasonable control of his vehicle and traveled so close to her that he brushed her clothes.  She testified that she had to take evasive action to avoid being hit by the truck and fell to the ground.  As a result of the fall, the plaintiff sustained a fractured hip and required two surgeries.

To defend against the plaintiff's claims, the defense presented evidence of the scene and road conditions that called into question whether the tortfeasor was traveling at an unreasonable speed.  The defense argued that the plaintiff did not establish that the tortfeasor negligently caused her to fall.  The defense also argued that the plaintiff was negligent and that her negligence should be a bar to recovery. Finally, the defense presented evidence that the plaintiff failed to keep a proper lookout for vehicles traveling on the driveway.

In closing argument the plaintiff asked the jury for $275,000.  The jury returned a verdict in favor of the insurance company in less than one hour.