Family of teen killed by hit-and-run driver awarded $2.9 M in wrongful death case

The family of a 14-year-old girl was awarded a $2.9 million wrongful death award against the drunken driver who hit the girl as she was walking in a crosswalk in 2004.

Ashley Lynn Nickerson-Whalen was killed as she crossed the street. Kirk Tate, 21, the driver of the car that hit Ashley fled the scene. He was later arrested and plead guilty to felony hit-and-run and Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and is currently serving time in prison on that charge.

Ashley’s family filed a wrongful death claim against Tate and also the owner of the car, Donald E. Williams, claiming that he negligently allowed Tate to drive his car even though he knew that Tate previously had been convicted of DUI.

The Bucks County jury awarded $697,749.92 in wrongful death damages against both Tate and Williams, $1.5 million in survival action damages against both defendants. Punitive damages of $600,000 were awarded against Tate and $150,000 against Williams.

Neither man had car insurance and it will be hard to collect the damages but Ashley’s family can make a claim if either man accumulates any assets.

When a person is killed due to the wrongful or criminal action of another, the family of the deceased can file suit on behalf of their deceased loved one.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We are a personal injury law firm in Bellevue, Washington and we have more than 30 years experience representing victims of auto accidents and the families of those who have died with their wrongful death claims.

Source: Girl’s family awarded $2.9 million
August 31, 2011
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