Bob and Tom represented an auto insurer in a hit-and-run, “pedestrian v. motor vehicle” wrongful death case. The decedent passed away due to injuries sustained when a hit-and-run driver struck him on a highway in Wisconsin. The trustee for the next-of-kin filed suit against our client for uninsured motorist benefits.
Plaintiff claimed the hit-and-run driver was responsible for the accident for failure to maintain a proper look out and caused the collision. Bob and Tom successfully proved the decedent failed to act with reasonable care for his own protection and violated several Wisconsin traffic statutes in the process. The case presented several complex issues, including whether the policy’s “accident” requirement was to be viewed from the decedent’s perspective or the tortfeasor’s perspective in the event the decedent was found to have committed suicide. There was also a choice of law question as the incident happened in Wisconsin but the lawsuit was venued in Minnesota.
After a hotly contested five-day trial in Rochester, the jury returned a verdict finding the decedent-pedestrian 85% at fault and the hit-and-run driver 15% at fault. The jury also found $47,000 in total damages due to the loss of the 30-year old decedent, which were not recoverable due to the comparative fault determination.