Recently, a lawsuit against the Putnam County Board of Education, involving an archery injury, was settled. The case involved an incident in September 2010, when the injured party, student Hunter Fitzwater, was seated in a classroom at Hurricane High School. He was located near the back of the room, close to where a classmate was leaning on a stack of archery targets. As a result, the targets fell forward and struck Fitzwater on the head, causing Fitzwater’s head to strike the top of his desk.
In the lawsuit, Fitzwater claimed that, because of the two blows, he lost consciousness immediately and then existed in an altered state of consciousness for a period of time. Putnam County Board of Education was named in the lawsuit because it had a duty to supervise students in the classroom, especially around hazardous areas. The Board of Education breached that duty by failing to provide supervision, or otherwise properly stack and maintain the archery targets. As a result of the breach, Fitzwater suffered a traumatic brain injury that has led him to experience short-term and permanent cognitive deficits, as well as emotional deficits. Fitzwater believed that these deficits would reduce his educational opportunities and diminish his future earning capacity. His enjoyment of life was also permanently affected.
Following the filing of the lawsuit, a mediation was held, during which the two sides reached a settlement. The parties then sent a letter informing the Putnam County Circuit Court judge, and the judge dismissed the case with prejudice. Details about the amount of the settlement are unknown.
It is not unusual for personal injury lawsuits to never reach the trial stage. In fact, it is more common for such lawsuits to be dismissed or settled than for a lawsuit to go through trial. Settlement is often favored because it is less costly and stressful for both sides. Furthermore, while the injured party filing the lawsuit may think that he or she has a strong case, the party typically has just a 50-50 chance of getting a favorable ruling. In addition to avoiding the stress of gathering evidence and testifying, settlement allows the injured party to at least get some of what he or she wants — while also preventing the party in the wrong from being ruined financially. Settlements are also flexible — parties can enter into them at virtually any time, even during the trial. However, if the injured party decides to enter into a settlement, it is important that he or she understand and accept the full terms of the settlement. One thing that should never happen is that an attorney enter into settlement for the client, without the client knowing the terms. If you wish to file a lawsuit and learn more about settlement, contact a West Virginia personal injury attorney today.
The Wolfe Law Firm has been providing legal services for nearly 25 years. Located in Elkins, West Virginia, the firm provides services in the areas of personal injury, criminal defense, bankruptcy, and mediation. If you are looking for an experienced West Virginia attorney, contact us today.