Our firm is proud to announce that we have settled two cases against the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) thus far this year. Highway design cases can be complex, but through our hard work and dedication we have successfully concluded two such cases this year alone.
The first case involved the death of a 39-year-old mother who was on her way to work when, after driving through a 6-inch deep pool of water in the center of the lane, she lost control of her vehicle and collided with a tree. Carlyn Perkins was driving alone in the southbound lane on Riverview Drive in St. Louis when the accident claimed her life and left her 14-year-old son without a mother.
Meyerkord & Kurth took this case on behalf of Ms. Perkins' family and filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of St. Louis and the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission (MHTC). In addition to alleging that a defect in the road existed, the lawsuit alleged that MHTC and the City of St. Louis knew of the defect and failed to protect commuters by way of a barricade or warning sign. Following considerable rainfall, the defect in the road caused flooding and the pool of water that Ms. Perkins drove through on Riverview Drive.
The section of Riverview Drive where the accident occurred is owned by the City of St. Louis, but MHTC had a maintenance agreement with the City to maintain this particular section of the road and was therefore primarily responsible for its condition.
The family settled with the City of St. Louis for $250,000 and proceeded to arbitration (a form of alternative dispute resolution) with MHTC.
At the conclusion of arbitration proceedings, the family was awarded $1,007,000 and Ms. Perkins was found to be 33% at fault in causing the accident. The award was reduced to the statutory cap of $392,734, pursuant to RSMo. § 537.610.
In total, the settlement and arbitration resulted in a total recovery of $642,734 for Ms. Perkins' family.
The second case involving MoDOT was concluded by Brian Kurth of Meyerkord & Kurth in association with attorney Joe Klenofsky. This involved a near-fatal accident that left the victim, 30-year-old Amber Courtney, a paraplegic. The incident occurred when Ms. Courtney was driving on Highway H in Jefferson County. As she was driving, the tires on the passenger side of her vehicle dropped off the pavement. She lost control of her vehicle and ended up overturned in an embankment, trapped in her vehicle for approximately eight hours until she was freed by emergency personnel and flown to St. John's Mercy in St. Louis. She suffered rib fractures, closed head trauma and fractures to the T6-7 and T7-9 vertebrae with near complete destruction of the spinal cord. The accident left her paraplegic.
In handling this case, attorney Kurth retained the services of Bill Berg, a highway expert and engineer. Mr. Berg conduct a thorough safety analysis of the accident site, not only inspecting the site itself but reviewing accident reports from law enforcement and MoDOT materials. His investigation revealed a number of hazards in the section of highway where Ms. Courtney's accident occurred. His investigation also yielded 24 reports of accidents similar to Ms. Courtney's at that section of the highway, 22 of which involved vehicles leaving the road.
A settlement was reached with MoDOT prior to court-ordered arbitration, totaling $343,000.
A family-owned firm led by a father and son team, Meyerkord & Kurth is committed to reaching the best possible result in every case we handle, including the most complex of claims involving defective and dangerous roadways. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident or has suffered any type of injury because of the negligence or wrongdoing of another person, we stand ready to fight for justice. You can learn more about our attorneys and our firm by contacting our St. Louis office for a free consultation.
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