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Litigation Funding Blog

Son and Estate of Police Detective Killed in a Motor Vehicle Accident to Receive Settlement of Nearly $14 Million

February 26, 2021

On the afternoon of December 24, 2018, Louisville Metro Police Detective Deidre Mengedoht was killed in a car accident after a semitruck crashed into her police vehicle. When the crash occurred, the officer was conducting a traffic stop. After Burdette hit the police vehicle, the cop car hit the pickup truck the officer had pulled over for the traffic stop. Four people were inside of the pickup truck. Roger Burdette, the driver of the truck, was a Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) t employee and was in the course of his employment at the time of the accident. MSD fired Burdette after the crash.

Burdette was criminally charged with murder, four count of wanton endangerment, driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol, and failing to give the right of way to a stopped emergency vehicle. Toxicology reports show that the semitruck driver had hydrocodone in his system at the time of the accident.

Two legal claims were filed for damages and compensation for the deadly crash. One lawsuit was submitted on behalf of the officer’s estate. The other lawsuit was brought on behalf of the detective’s son. They were filed against the semitruck driver and his employer, Burdette and MSD, respectively. Burdette was accused of negligence and MSD of failure to properly employ, supervise, and train Burdette.

The case went to mediation, and the parties reached a settlement of $13.65 million. The estate was awarded $10 million. The detective’s son, who was nine years old at the time of the crash, was awarded $3.65 million.

The four individuals in the pickup truck also filed a separate lawsuit against Burdette. The have claimed injuries from the police squad car hitting the pickup truck. They also have an emotional trauma claim, which includes trauma from the crash as well as witnessing Mengedoht’s squad car burst into flames.

Wrongful death lawsuits arise when a person dies due to the wrongful act, negligence, or fault of another person. In Michigan, the personal representative brings the lawsuit in the name of the estate of person who died from the accident. The lawsuit can seek to recover economic and noneconomic damages.

In a wrongful death accident resulting from a motor vehicle accident, the plaintiff may seek noneconomic damages from the any party who is responsible for the ownership, maintenance, use of the automobile. The noneconomic losses include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium. The economic losses include medical expenses and care, burial costs, and loss of future earnings.

Wrongful death lawsuits cost money to begin the litigation. As the lawsuit progresses, additional fees and costs arise. Additionally, lawsuits are time-consuming and complex; therefore, it is best to hire an attorney to handle to case. However, attorney’s fees and costs can also add to the financial weight of a litigation. Although a lawsuit may be costly, a person should not forego a legal action when his legal injury has caused him to suffer financial and emotional damages Litigation funding may be the solution to the financial hurdle of a lawsuit. .

Legal funding provides monetary assistance to a third party to pay for the fees and costs of a lawsuit. The financing helps a plaintiff hire legal representation based on skill and experience without having to settle just for an attorney based on the costs. Although the third-party financing company pays the money for the litigation, it does not control the lawsuit. The client still decides the direction of the case. Also, the attorney does not work for the financer; he works for the client. Because of attorney-client privilege, communications remain private, and the legal funding company does not have the right privileged information.

Another benefit of litigation financing is that the client does not pay back the loan out-of-pocket. The loan company only gets is money back if the borrower wins or settles the case, says . The risk of the loan rests with the funding company, which provides a financial relief to the plaintiff.

Parents of Man Hit and Killed by Bus Awarded Jury Verdict of $20 Million

February 2, 2021

On June 29, 2017, 25-year-old Hunter Brown was traveling on a Greyhound Bus Lines bus from Seattle, Washington to California. During the ride, the bus driver stopped at a rest stop in Center Point, Oregon. While attempting to get back on the bus, Brown was run over by the bus and killed.

Brown’s parents filed a lawsuit against Greyhound Bus Lines. The lawsuit alleged the driver failed to count his passengers before leaving the rest stop. As a result, he left Brown behind. Passengers stated that when Brown fell, he was running alongside the bus and knocking on the bus door. After falling, the driver made a turn and roller over Brown. During the trial, a bus industry expert testified that the accident and resulting death could have been prevented if the driver took a headcount of the passengers.

The jury found Greyhound Bus Lines negligent in Brown’s death. The verdict in favor of his parents was $20 million in damages. The jury verdict stated that had the driver followed company policies, the accident may have been avoided. 

Wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to the wrongful act, neglect or fault of another party. A lawsuit for the injuries and resulting death can be filed on behalf of the deceased person’s estate. Michigan law also lists the persons that may be entitled to damages from the wrongful act and death. The individuals include the deceased’s spouse, children, parents and siblings. The lawsuit may seek damages for economic and noneconomic losses.

Economic losses include losses with a set monetary amount. They include medical expenses, medical care, lost wages and burial costs. Noneconomic losses suffered in a wrongful death action do not have set numerical values. Noneconomic losses include pain and suffering, mental anguish, mental distress, loss of companionship, loss of consortium, and loss of parental care.

Although a person may have a wrongful death action, they may not be able to pay for a lawsuit. The costs of starting a lawsuit accrue quickly. Even if a person decides to file the lawsuit without an attorney, they will still have to pay the court fees and other costs. Litigation funding provides financial ease.

Litigation funding or legal funding provides third-party financing to a person or party who pays for litigation costs. This funding allows the borrower to have some financial relief. The third-party financing company absorbs the risk of lending the money because the money is returned if the borrower wins or settles the lawsuit. Additionally, the borrower always retains control of their suit. The lender is only the financer; it does not control the case or the attorney. 

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