Hit-and-Run Accident Lawsuit Results in $2.9M Award

A wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of a Philadelphia area teen killed by a hit-and-run driver has resulted in a $2.9 million verdict. 

The hit-and-run auto accident lawsuit was brought by the family of Ashley Lynn Nickerson-Whalen, who was 14 when she was run over by a drunk driver using a suspended license at about 10 p.m. on August 19, 2004.

Kirk Tate, 21, was sentenced to serve three to six years in prison as a result of charges stemming from the accident after pleading guilty in 2005. Both Tate and Donald Williams, the owner of the car Tate was driving when he struck Nickerson-Whalen and fled the scene, were named as defendants in the family’s personal injury lawsuit.

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The case was decided by Bucks County Judge Gary Gilman, who awarded the family nearly $700,000 in wrongful death compensation from both men. In addition, Gilman awarded the family $1.5 million in survival action damages, $600,000 in punitive damages against Tate and $150,000 in punitive damages against Williams.

The family will have to attempt to collect most of the money from Tate and Williams’ future earnings.


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