$3.4 Million Wrongful Death Settlement in 2012 Car Crash of Young Mother
By Dean I. Weitzman, Esq. on January 3rd, 2014
As her 1995 Nissan Sentra broke down on southbound Interstate 664 in Chesapeake, Va., about 9 a.m. on June 14, 2012, 27-year-old Crystal A. Burgsteiner pulled the small car to the side of the highway and turned on its emergency flashers.
While she waited in her car on the side of the road, a tractor-trailer behind her left its lane after its driver allegedly suffered an undisclosed medical emergency and plowed into the rear of her car, pushing it off the road and into a roadside stand of trees. Burgsteiner, the mother of two young boys, was killed in the crash. The Newport News, Va., woman was four months pregnant at the time of the incident and died at the scene.
After the crash, her family sued the driver of the truck, Christopher L. Johnson, who worked for Pennsylvania-based Vitran Express Inc., and recently reached a $3.4 settlement in connection with her death, according to a report from The Virginian-Pilot newspaper.
The lawsuit “alleged that Johnson was speeding and driving recklessly and had a long history of traffic convictions that included speeding and driving without a license in Henrico County, Richmond and Portsmouth,” the paper reported. He was charged with reckless driving and failure to maintain control of his vehicle.
The truck driver, Johnson, was not charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the crash due to the medical emergency he experienced, according to a report by WAVY Channel 10, Portsmouth, Va. More details about the alleged medical condition were not released by the police because of privacy laws, the TV station reported.
The trucker had a history of infractions prior to the fatal crash, according to a June 18, 2012 report by NewsChannel 3 WTKR of Norfolk, Va. Johnson had been charged in 2003 in Portsmouth with driving a tractor trailer on a suspended license, as well as for contempt of court, according to the report. He was also found guilty of driving without a license.
In addition, “the company that owns the truck involved in the crash has, according to federal records, been involved in at least four fatal crashes in the past two years,” WTKR reported.
The crash that took the life of Crystal Burgsteiner was a tragedy that will haunt her family forever. While the truck driver could not be charged criminally in her death, her surviving husband and children were able to file a lawsuit to recover damages for their loss. While that money cannot replace her life, it can be used by the family to pay for everyday expenses, college for her children and for other family needs.
These kinds of cases occur every day when innocent victims are hurt or killed in vehicle accidents through no fault of their own due to the actions or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.
We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.
Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-(866) 352-4572 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.