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Early Intervention and Mediation Results in Successful Settlement in Child Fatality Trucking Loss in McAllen Texas

July 12, 2010

Ted Schaer, the co-department head of Zarwin, Baum’s Casualty Defense Practice Group and Regional Counsel for a national transportation insurance carrier, successfully resolved two trucking losses for an aggregate of $250,000, well below the plaintiff’s demand and the carrier’s reserve.  One of the claims involved the death of a 9-year old child and the other involved serious injuries to the other passenger, the decedent’s sister. The emergency response team of Zarwin, Baum was called within 30 minutes of the accident which occurred just outside of Brownsville, Texas.  Schaer coordinated the emergency response along with partner, Joseph Denneler, who immediately flew to the scene to direct extensive field operations.  At the mediation, held within 90 days of the accident, Schaer alleged that the accident was caused by an improper towing hitch that allowed a vehicle being towed by the Plaintiff to detach, lose control and to be placed in a position on the highway to be broadsided by the defendant tractor trailer. At the time of the mediation, Schaer used animation, a live accident reconstruction expert, and the reports of a motor carrier safety compliance expert to refute claims by the Plaintiffs that the commercial vehicle’s brakes were improperly adjusted and could not come to a stop before the accident occurred. Although the jurisdiction for the action is notoriously plaintiff oriented, the presentation, including the utilization of the animation to illustrate the accident and the attendance of an reconstruction expert at the mediation convinced the mediator and ultimately induced the plaintiffs to settle the minor’s death case and the significant injury case for a total of $250,000, far below the plaintiffs’ policy limit demand of million dollars. Click on the above animation icon to view the actual animation used at the mediation.

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