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Bakery driver obtains settlement after crash.

Byline: Alan Scher Zagier

&nbsp;<br />A man injured in a fender-bender on Interstate 270 has settled a pair of insurance claims for $850,000 after striking a deal with his own insurer on the morning his lawyer was preparing to file a federal suit for payment through underinsured-motorists' coverage.<br />Mark R. Wright, 60, of Manchester, was hit from behind while driving in the far right lane on southbound I-270 just past Ladue Road during the morning rush hour. Kelly L. Page, 36, of Alton, Illinois, told Creve Coeur police that she was unable to avoid striking the rear of Wright's 2007 Ford Econoline E250 cargo van, which was in front of her when it suddenly braked.<br />Wright told police that an unidentified vehicle in front of him also braked suddenly before his van was struck by Page's 2013 GMC Terrain sport-utility vehicle. The collision occurred just before 8 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Wright, a self-employed bakery-delivery driver, was working at the time, said plaintiff's attorney William Holland of Goldblatt Singer.<br />Page's insurer, American Family Mutual Insurance, agreed in March 2017 to settle the claim for her policy's $100,000 liability limits, Holland said. Allstate Insurance, though, challenged Wright's efforts to seek redress under his own underinsured motorists' policy, which led to plans for a federal lawsuit under diversity of jurisdiction.<br />"We provided [Allstate] with all the information that [it] would have received in a protracted litigation prior to filing suit," Holland said. "The defendant focused on the fact that there was very little property damage, in the neighborhood of $2,000, and that could factor into a federal jury's decision."<br />A vocational-rehabilitation expert retained by the plaintiff determined that Wright's back, spine and neck injuries from the crash would make it difficult for him to return to work. Wright underwent multiple cervical and lumbar surgeries after more conservative treatment was not successful, accruing an estimated $300,000 in medical bills, according to Holland.<br />The claim first went to mediation before retired St. Louis County Presiding Judge Robert Cohen, but the two sides were unable to reach an agreement, Holland said. Allstate subsequently agreed to settle for $750,000 in October 2017, records provided by Holland show.<br />[box type="shadow" align="alignright" ]<br />$850,000 settlement<br />Motor-vehicle collision<br />Breakdown of value: $100,000 from American Family Mutual Insurance, $750,000 from Allstate Insurance<br />Special Damages: $300,000 in medical bills<br />Venue: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (not filed)<br />Date: Nov. 17, 2017<br />Caption: Mark Wright vs. Allstate Insurance Co.<br />Plaintiffs' Attorney: William Holland, Goldblatt Singer, Clayton<br />Mediator: United States Arbitration & Mediation<br />Insurance: American Family Mutual Insurance (for Page); Allstate Insurance Co. (for Wright)<br />Plaintiff's Expert: Delores Gonzalez, St. Louis (vocational)<br />[/box]

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Publication:Missouri Lawyers Media
Date:May 14, 2018
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