Congratulations to my partner, attorney Jan Smolak, who recently settled a wrongful death case for $5,500,000! Although I am not at liberty to discuss the details of the settlement, nor any of the specifics regarding the injury (we signed a non-disclosure agreement with the insurance company), I can say that Jan, once again, did an outstanding job.
Such a large settlement for a motor vehicle accident case is unusual. There are two reasons why:
First, a negligent driver who causes an accident is extremely unlikely to have enough insurance (or personal assets) to cover such a large settlement. The minimal liability insurance for motor vehicles in New York is only $25,000, and a good chunk of New York auto owners carry only this bare minimum in coverage. Even well-off folks rarely carry more than $1,000,000 in coverage. Greater coverage is usually only available when the at-fault vehicle is owned by, or the driver of the vehicle was in the scope of his employment for, a large corporation. Personal injury lawyers refer to this as a “deep-pocket defendant”. In car accidents, “deep pocket” defendants are rare.