Surviving family members of Dewey Book, a woman killed in a three-car automobile accident in December 2009, were recently awarded $2.3 million in a wrongful death lawsuit that played out in local courts this winter. A Philadelphia jury decided they were entitled to monetary compensation, which included $1.5 million in survival damages and $750,000 in wrongful death damages.
According to the defense, Book was in the process of turning left on a road in Chester County when the defendant, John Antonini, hit her car from behind with his truck. The impact resulted in Book's car spinning out of control into oncoming lanes of traffic. Immediately after the car started spinning, her vehicle was hit by another car that was driving at almost 50 miles per hour.
Antonini's defense lawyers admitted their client's responsibility the day the trial started, according to the Book family's attorneys. The family originally tried to recover economic damages in the $900,000 range, but the defense tried to bring that amount down to between $300,000 and $400,000.
The defense team asked that the jurors consider several factors when reaching a verdict. The fact that surviving family members were all employed, grown and living in the suburbs were all indications that they were financially stable, according to the defense.
''The jurors said because they seemed to be doing well, they were ultimately awarded less than they would have if [the jurors] felt they needed the money more,'' said the plaintiff's attorney. Jurors often assume those living in the suburbs have more money, however the victim in this case only brought in roughly $22,000 per year, the attorney said.
In 2009, when the accident occurred, there were 121,312 automobile accidents and 1,324 car crash fatalities in the "Keystone State," according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. If you or you know someone who has been injured in such an accident, consulting with accident and injury lawyers may help recover damages for you or your loved ones.
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