$425,650 Settlement for Wrongful Death of 18 year-old Son

On the 14th day of May, 2003, Troy Cooley was driving his father’s company pick-up southbound on U.S. Highway 65 in Benton County, Missouri when a northbound pick-up truck crossed the centerline of the two-lane highway and struck Troy’s vehicle head-on. Both Troy and the driver of the other vehicle were pronounced dead at the scene.

Troy, an 18-year old college student, was the only child of Frank and Jane Cooley. The Cooleys hired Kirksville, Missouri attorney Jay Benson to represent them in their wrongful death claim. Benson filed suit on behalf of Troy’s parents against the Decedent’s Estate of the driver of the northbound pick-up, who had a liability insurance policy with limits of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00). The liability insurer paid its maximum limits. Benson then filed suit on behalf of his clients against their own insurer for underinsured motorist (“UIM”) coverage provided in their own automobile insurance policies. The parties agreed to mediation of the UIM claim, and after mediation, Troy’s parents agreed to settle their claim for a sum of Three Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Fifty Dollars ($325,650.00).

Type of Action: Automobile Accident
Type of Injuries: Wrongful Death
Court/Case Number/Date: Circuit Court of Benton County, Missouri; Case No. 04CV693406; May 12, 2004 (Wrongful Death Claim)
Circuit Court of Dallas County, Missouri; Case No. 04CV695741; December 9, 2004 (UIM Claim)
Caption: Frank A. Cooley and Wanda J. Cooley v. The Estate of Carl M. Plemmons, Deceased (Wrongful Death Claim)
Frank A. Cooley and Wanda J. Cooley v. West American Insurance Company, An Indiana Insurance Company (UIM Claim)
Total Settlement: $425,650.00
Special Damages: $9,623 funeral and monument expense
Attorney for Plaintiffs:
Jay Benson, Kirksville, Missouri

Attorney for Defendants:
Whiteaker & Wilson (Springfield)
Attorneys for Defendant Decedent’s Estate

Merrick, Baker & Strauss, P.C. (Kansas City)
Attorneys for Defendant UIM Insurer