By Scott North Herald Writer
MALTBY — A $6 million insurance settlement has been reached to end a lawsuit that arose after an overloaded dump truck slammed into a disabled car along Highway 522 in 2010, seriously injuring the Snohomish County family inside, including two young children.
The settlement was reached with the insurance company that represented the truck’s owner, Bobby Wolford Trucking and Demolition, Inc., of Woodinville, Snohomish County Superior Court papers show.
It is believed to be the largest settlement in the county involving private, non-governmental parties, said Seattle attorney Raymond Bishop, who was among the team of lawyers who represented the children and their parents.
The crash left a boy, then 6, and a girl, then 8, with skull fractures, numerous broken bones and other serious injuries. The boy was in a coma for weeks.
“It’s a great result for the children, because their proceeds are being placed in a court-supervised trust that will help provide for their needs in the future” said Derek Moore, another attorney who worked the case at Bishop Legal in Seattle.
The accident was a tragedy for all involved, said Nelle Jacobson, business manager for the trucking company.
“Like all trucking companies we work very hard to avoid accidents,” she said. “No one likes any incident when someone is hurt. It is a tragedy for us. It is a tragedy for the family. It is especially so when there is injury.”
Details of the settlement and trust were approved in recent weeks by Superior Court Judge David Kurtz.
The crash happened Feb. 8, 2010. The children’s mother was driving east on the highway. The car broke down, and the woman pulled the vehicle to the right, next to the highway barrier. There was no shoulder. She activated her emergency lights and called for a tow truck, court papers said.
The dump truck, driven by a Monroe man, struck the car from behind. The crash involved multiple collisions with the T-Bird as it was ground along the guard rail.
The truck came to a stop 265 feet past the initial point of impact, and roughly 40 yards past where the car came to rest, according to court papers.
A Washington State Patrol investigation found the truck’s driver had been negligent in failing to avoid the disabled vehicle, and that he also was operating the truck 22,000 pounds over weight, court papers said. A separate lawsuit has been filed against the company allegedly involved in overloading the truck.
The children’s legal interests have been represented by a court-appointed guardian ad litem, attorney William Dussault.
The settlement reached with the trucking company’s insurance company was for the full policy limits. Less attorneys fees and other costs, the settlement earmarked $4.3 million for the boy, $800,000 for the girl with smaller amounts to their parents.
Scott North: 425-339-3431; firstname.lastname@example.org.