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Fatal truck crash results in $4 million settlement, additional litigation

A truck crash that killed a woman and severely injured her adult daughter resulted in a $4 million total settlement, according to an attorney for the plaintiffs.

Robert D. Curran of the Curran Law Firm in Springfield said the accident occurred in a construction zone on eastbound Interstate 44 in Phelps County. A tractor-trailer driver allegedly failed to notice that the traffic ahead of him had come to a complete stop due to the construction. He crashed into the rear of a stopped vehicle.

The 55-year-old woman driving the struck vehicle died at the scene. Her 20-year-old daughter suffered a trau matic brain injury and many fractures. She was hospitalized for two and a half months.

The daughter and the deceased mother’s wrongful-death claimants entered into an agreement with the trucking company and its driver. Federated Mutual and Sentry insurance company each paid their full applicable insurance policy limits, totaling $4 million. Half was allocated to the daughter for her injuries, and the remaining $2 million was distributed among the wrongful-death claimants, Curran said.

In exchange, the plaintiffs agreed to not pursue the personal assets of the trucking company or the driver, but they reserved all rights to pursue negligence claims against the shipper that selected the trucking company and any available coverage proceeds from the shipper’s three liability insurance carriers.

An attorney for the defendants didn’t return a call seeking comment.

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Breakdown: $2 million for wrongful-death claimants, $2 million for personal injury
Venue: Phelps County Circuit Court
Case Number/Date: Confidential/March 8, 2019
Insurance: Federated Mutual Insurance Co., Sentry Insurance Co.
Caption: Confidential
Plaintiffs’ Attorneys: Robert D. Curran, Curran Law Firm, Springfield; Peter J. Kestner, McEwen & Kestner, Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota; Christopher P. Martineau, Johnston Martineau, Roseville, Minnesota
Defense Attorney: Yvette M. Boutaugh, Childress Ahlheim Cary, St. Louis