Missouri child's brain injuries result in $5 million settlement

A Missouri mom and her three young children were taking a Saturday drive to the library when tragedy struck. As the woman slowed her car to a near stop to turn left into the library parking lot, it was slammed into at 60 mph by a pick-up truck.

The violent collision left the woman’s child, just a year and a half old at the time, with traumatic brain injuries.

His family recently settled a Jackson County Circuit Court case against the pick-up driver’s insurance company for $5 million, according to a report.

The accident was in January of 2010 in Smithville, north of Kansas City.

According to the report, the family and pick-up driver’s insurance company agreed to settle last year for the limit of the driver’s policy: $300,000.

However, the company apparently balked at setting up what the judge called a “structured settlement.”

The family had requested that the compensation be in the form of an annuity for the child with the traumatic brain injury and his two siblings. The judge approved.

Yet the insurer balked and litigation resumed. When the pick-up driver declared bankruptcy, it reportedly became clear that he had insurance coverage beyond what was originally believed to exist, all with the same insurer, which had failed to disclose to the court the existence of the additional coverage.

The judge said the insurance company’s “material misrepresentations” compelled him to void the $300,000 settlement in the best interests of the children. The case then moved toward trial before the $5 million settlement was reached with the help of the family’s personal injury attorneys.

Source: Missouri Lawyers Weekly, "Settlement balloons after insurer balks at annuity," Scott Lauck, April 7, 2014

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