|Case Studies: Vanderburg|
Vanderburg Case Report Auto Negligence/Wrongful Death
|BRIEF STATEMENT OF CLAIM: Defendant driver lost control of his furniture truck while proceeding down a hill on East Club Boulevard, a two lane street in Durham, North Carolina on April 4, 1995. The driver complained that his brakes did not work properly when applied, causing him to veer onto the right shoulder, back across his lane of traffic and across the lane dividing line where he struck Plaintiffs vehicle severely injuring the driver (causing death) and causing minor injuries to the deceaseds three small children, who were passengers in her vehicle.
PRINCIPLE INJURIES: Multiple trauma resulting in death to Plaintiff driver; minor bruises to children.
SPECIAL DAMAGES: Medical Expenses - $26,588.90, including unsuccessful operation; economist appraisal for lost income and services - $327,000.00
TRIED OR SETTLED: Settled.
COUNTY WHERE SETTLED: Durham
CASE NAME AND NUMBER: VIOLA VANDERBURG, Administratrix of the Estate of CHARLENE L. VANDERBURG, and VIOLA VANDERBURG, Guardian ad Litem for KEFFLIN VANDERBURG, KALYNN VANDERBURG and KHALID VANDERBURG (minors), vs. ANTHONY CANNON, TIMOTHY SCOTT, MERCHANTS HOME DELIVERY SERVICE, INC. and BUSH LEASING, INC. (Durham County File No. 95 CVS 05568)
DATE CONCLUDED: February 1996
NAME OF JUDGE: Orlando F. Hudson
AMOUNT: $927,640.00 (present value) with total expected structured payout for benefit of minor children of approximately $1,500,000.00.
INSURANCE CARRIER: Reliance
EXPERT WITNESSES AND AREAS OF EXPERTISE: Fred Tyner (accident reconstruction); Dr. J. Finley Lee (economist).
ATTORNEY FOR PLAINTIFF: G. Jona Poe, Jr.
ATTORNEY FOR DEFENDANT: Terry D. Horne of Golding, Meekins, Holden Cosper and Stiles, Charlotte.
OTHER USEFUL INFO: At the time of the collision, the deceased Plaintiff was a 25 year old female African American and the mother of three children ages 4 years, 2 years and 6 months old. The deceased was never married and each of the children had a different father. She had a sporadic work history, was receiving public assistance and recently had been employed as a companion to mentally handicapped individuals. Since her death, the minor children have been living with the deceaseds mother. The Defendant driver was originally charged with death by vehicle, but was acquitted of all charges at a trial in Durham County District Court. Extensive investigation of the circumstances of the collision as well as the vehicle involved indicated that the Defendant driver may have been exceeding the 35 MPH speed limit immediately prior to applying the vehicle brakes. The brakes had been poorly maintained and all four brakes were out of adjustment at the time of the collision. Plaintiffs attorneys were able to locate witnesses as well as retain experts who would testify that the Defendant driver was speeding and that the owners of the vehicle were negligent in their maintenance of the vehicles brakes. There was also reason to believe that the Defendants had been notified of the poor condition of the brakes shortly before the accident occurred. Other problems involved the identification of the owners of the vehicle and those responsible for its maintenance.