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Tractor-Trailer Company Settles with Family for $26.1 Million in Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Suit

When an individual is involved in an accident and has an extended family, a settlement or award can be awarded to family members.  That amount can then be distributed between all the surviving members for the sustained injuries and wrongful death that occurred.

In what may be one of the largest multi-survivor wrongful death and personal injury settlements in Pennsylvania history, Kathryn Sneeringer agreed to a settlement in the amount of $26.1 million. In July 2010, she was driving along Interstate 80 in her Toyota Matrix with her father, her husband, and the family dogs. When they reached a construction zone, Mrs. Sneeringer stopped her car, which idled along with the rest of the traffic. Spencer Chapman, however, was driving a tractor-trailer at a reckless speed and when his truck entered the construction zone, it slammed into the back of Sneeringer’s Toyota.

Kathryn Sneeringer suffered severe physical injuries, but her father sustained more devastating head injuries that left him in a coma and with permanent brain damage. Her husband, in the backseat of the car, was killed instantly along with the family’s two dogs.

Mrs. Sneeringer and her mother-in-law filed a wrongful death lawsuit against GLC Transportation, the owners of the tractor-trailer, and Spencer Chapman, the tractor-trailer driver, alleging that Chapman was not only negligent but also reckless.

In his defense, Chapman stated that he did not see the traffic because the sun was in his eyes, and that he did not immediately know that he had hit a car. It was pointed out, however, that Chapman was traveling eastbound on I-80 when the fatal crash occurred, so the sun would have been setting in the west and therefore not shining in his eyes. A more likely scenario may be that he could have fallen asleep behind the wheel since he was not able to recall many of the details of the accident.

Under the Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Act, a lawsuit can be brought by the surviving wife, husband, children, and parents of the victim for the injuries and death that resulted from another person’s negligent actions. A successful lawsuit can also recover damages for reasonable hospital, nursing, medical, and funeral expenses in addition to any other expenses incurred as result of the negligence.

While no wrongful death lawsuit can undo the tragic and untimely death of a loved one, it offers families the financial compensation they are entitled to. Rudberg Law Offices, LLC can help you to get a measure of justice during this extremely difficult time. Call us at 412-488-6000 or contact us online to speak with an experienced and compassionate lawyer at our firm.