New Clients Email:

New Clients Email

$2.9M Settlement for Family in Wrongful Death Suit Against Drunk Driver

woman sculpture holding scales

In 2018, attorney Shawn Howard recovered a $2,930,952 wrongful death settlement on behalf of the family of a 6 year old girl killed by a drunk driver. The driver, a former UNC student, drove the wrong direction along I-85 in 2015 and killed three people.

The driver received a prison sentence for three counts of involuntary manslaughter and will serve 16 years. In addition, our firm pursued each business or person who the family felt contributed to the driver’s intoxication. Two bars had illegally served him alcohol even though the driver’s license he used did not have his photograph. In total, the suit named 15 individuals and entities as defendants for their contribution to the underage driver’s intoxication. At the time of the crash, the drunk driver was under the influence of substantial quantities alcohol and marijuana which had been binge consumed at his apartment, his fraternity house, a friend’s apartment, and two local bars.

After years of litigation, the case finally settled one month prior to trial in mid-2018. The final settlement was obtained approximately one month after Court-ordered mediation had reached an impasse (meaning the parties had not agreed to a settlement).

Expert Testimony

Our firm hired a number of experts to assist with the presentation of the case and preparation for trial, including:

  • A “dram shop” expert from Florida to opine about the responsibilities of restaurants and bars to prevent the sale of alcohol to underage and intoxicated customers and the breaches of those safety rules in this case;
  • A medical doctor from Colorado with expertise in toxicology to opine about the drunk driver’s likely state of intoxication at the time of service of alcohol throughout the night. The doctor was also called upon to testify regarding the “synergistic” affects between alcohol and marijuana;
  • A second medical doctor from Virginia, who also had a pharmacy degree, with expertise in toxicology to opine about the drunk driver’s likely state of intoxication at the time of service of alcohol throughout the night; and,
  • A fraternity management expert from the University of Kentucky to testify regarding proper procedures and rules for college fraternities to follow.

We also retained a local video company that compiled photographs and videos of the little girl narrated by her parents. Throughout the case, the firm participated in dozens of depositions and survived multiple “dispositive motions”. These motions, including a “Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss” and “Summary Judgment Motion”., attempted to dismiss the case altogether. Despite their efforts, no defendant ever obtained a dismissal of the case against them by the Court. The firm also arranged for multiple focus groups to learn how best to present the case for the jury’s consideration.

North Carolina Personal Injury Representation

If you believe you have a wrongful death case involving a drunk driver call our firm at (919) 526-0450. You can also send us an email through our contact page.