The Seattle Times reports that King County in Washington has settled a personal injury lawsuit by agreeing to pay $7 million to a woman who was seriously injured when she was hit by a King County Metro Transit van as she rode her Vespa scooter to work. Raymond Dearie, the woman’s attorney, said that this may be the largest amount the county has ever paid to a single plaintiff.
Spokeswoman for the county Transportation Department Rochelle Ogershok confirmed that the settlement had been reached but did not know if it was a record-setting settlement.
“It was a tragic and unfortunate accident, and the county of course feels very badly that it occurred,” said Ogershok. “We feel the settlement was fair based on the circumstances surrounding the accident.”
The city of Seattle may pay a portion of the settlement due to a separate indemnification agreement, but the details of such an agreement are unclear at this time. Seattle had been named as a defendant in the lawsuit after King County argued that the accident occurred due to an unsafe intersection.
In the accident, operating room nurse Elizabeth Newman, 33 years old at the time of the accident, was hit by a Metro van. Newman was driving her scooter to work at the Swedish Medical Center at November 21, 2007 when the accident happened.
The Metro van driver, county employee Ricky Moore, passed a stop sign and failed to yield to Newman’s right of way, according to the lawsuit. The impact of the collision threw Newman 40 feet and caused severe internal injuries as well as leg fractures. Newman was in a coma for several days, and she had not recovered enough to return to work.
Dearie said the Newman was “the most extraordinary person I’ve been privileged to represent.”
Back in October 2009, Pierce County Superior Court Judge Brian Tollefson ruled that Newman was not liable for contributory negligence. (The judge was from Pierce County because cases involving county entities are sometimes heard in other counties.)
This cases shows that personal injury cases involving any level of government can be complicated. One level of government will often shift the blame for the accident to another level of government, just as the county blamed the city. Sometimes the law is different when you file a lawsuit against the government. Often, cases against government bodies are more difficult to win. Luckily Newman had an experienced attorney who knew how to push for an appropriate settlement.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an automobile accident, contact an experienced Georgia auto accident attorney immediately. You may be entitled to compensation. Call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule your free consultation. We’ll push for a fair settlement, and if that doesn’t work, we’ll go to trial and argue for the compensation you deserve.