A teacher from Philadelphia has been awarded $700,000 compensation for a car accident with a drunk driver after an arbitration hearing in Pennsylvania.
Diane Richman was driving through the streets of Philadelphia when, in May 2011, she was rear-ended by Augustine Roth. Roth fled the scene of the accident, but was later arrested by the police and found to have been under the influence when the accident happened.
Diane suffered cervical spine injuries in the accident and concussion. She continued to work as a fourth-grade teacher for a while after the accident but, in 2014, took early retirement as the ongoing neck pain she was experiencing was affecting her ability to teach.
After speaking with a lawyer, Diane claimed compensation for a car accident with a drunk driver against her own insurance company – Liberty Bell – as Roth was underinsured. Liberty Bell contested the claim on the grounds that Diane´s alleged injuries were not supported by evidence.
Liberty Bell also questioned the amount that was being claimed – insisting that Diane had continued working for three years to ensure that she did not lose any money from her pension plan and argued that her injuries were not the reason for her taking early retirement.
Diane´s claim for compensation for a car accident with a drunk driver went to arbitration, where financial experts were produced to testify to the three-person arbitration panel that Diane´s early retirement had cost her between $553,000 and $1.3 million in income depending on how long she would have carried on teaching if her accident had not occurred.
The arbitration panel told the insurance company that the fact Diane had continued teaching after her car accident with the drunk driver was irrelevant in the context of the case and she was fully entitled to recover her lost income.
The panel awarded Diane $373,840 for her economic loss and $300,000 for her pain and suffering. Diane´s husband Richard was also awarded $21,160 compensation for a car accident with a drunk driver for his loss of consortium – bringing the total settlement of the claim to $700,000.