VERDICTS & SETTLEMENTS – Wrongful Death – Elderly Widow Killed by Underage Driver Drag Racing on Public Road

This is a report on Attorney Pete Pearson’s victory in the following Wrongful Death case:


SETTLEMENT: $800,000

CASE: Estate of L. D., Deceased and F. D. vs. David Lavoie, Fulton County, Georgia

PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY: Pete Pearson, Pearson Law Firm, Atlanta, GA

FACTS & ALLEGATIONS:  My client, an elderly widow, was a passenger in a car being driven by her son. Their car was traveling South on Marietta Boulevard. They had a trunk full of groceries from Publix and were headed home. Unbeknownst to them, the Defendant, a young man by the name of David Lavoie, was just around the next bend, speeding towards them on Marietta Boulevard. He was racing another vehicle. Two eyewitnesses were in a car traveling South on Marietta Boulevard. They were ahead of my client, and had already passed the bend in the road. They saw the Defendant’s Honda Prelude and a black Cadillac Escalade zoom by them going in the opposite direction. They indicated the cars were going “very fast.” One eyewitness reported that she looked in her rear view mirror and saw the Defendant’s Prelude spin out of control and disappear around the bend – then she heard a loud crash. My client did not see the Defendant’s car hurtling toward her. The impact was a complete shock – a tremendous bang, metal on metal grinding, glass shattering, airbags exploding, the car shuddering to a stop, screams followed by stunned silence. As my elderly client lay motionless on her side in her car after the crash, the driver of the Escalade got out and came to the side of her car shouting profanities. He indicated “that is my best friend” (in the Prelude). He then opened my client’s door and shook her. He said “Are you OK grandma?” After hearing the crash from the impact between my client’s vehicle and the Defendant’s vehicle, the eyewitnesses turned around and came back to the scene. The driver of the Escalade approached the passenger side of the eyewitness car. He repeated that his best friend was in the Prelude. He asked the eyewitness to “Don’t say we were racing because we weren’t racing.” Atlanta Police responded. In an admission recorded in the police report, the Defendant, while still at the scene, said he drank ten (10) beers before getting behind the wheel of his vehicle. The Defendant was underage.

INJURIES & DAMAGES: Sadly, my client suffered for 64 days before she passed. She was hospitalized that entire time. The Fulton County Medical Examiner certified on the Certificate of Death that the immediate cause of death was “Blunt force trauma of torso, delayed effects” and the abdominal blunt injury occurred in the traffic accident caused by Defendant David Lavoie. At the time of her death, my client was eight-eight years of age and had a reasonable life expectancy of 4.43 years according to the Annuity Mortality Table for 1949, Ultimate. Under Georgia law my client’s surviving children were entitled to recover an amount expressed in monetary terms equaling the full value of the life of my client without deduction for expenses or necessaries had she lived. The full value of the life of a decedent is comprised of two elements, the economic value of the deceased’s normal life expectancy and an intangible element incapable of exact proof.

a. Economic Value of Decedent’s Life – my client’s youngest son lived with her. He was disabled and had been dependent on my client for many years. My client cooked, cleaned and cared for her disabled son right up until the fatal collision. The future value of the services of the deceased is a valid item of damages in a wrongful death claim.

b. Non-Economic Element – This item of damages is intended to compensate for the non-economic elements of the deceased’s life. The amount of such damages is left to the enlightened conscience of the jury drawing on their own observation and life experience. It includes recovery for the destruction of the relationship of mother, measured from the standpoint of the deceased.

RESULT: We recovered $800,000.00 for our client’s surviving children.


Attorney Pete Pearson has been working for injury victims for 18 years right here in the Metro Atlanta Area. Located in the Greater Atlanta Metro Area, he serves clients all over the State of Georgia. He has a sub-specialty in child injury law. You can talk to Attorney Pearson for a free initial consultation by clicking here or by calling him at Six-Seven-Eight 358-2564.


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