Mother Obtains $1,508.500.00 Settlement for Son Killed In Westport

In the early morning hours of May 30th 2014, 28 year-old Derek Mael and his passenger were looking for parking spot in the Westport area of Kansas City, Missouri. While attempting to locate a space, Mael and his passenger became involved in a verbal exchange with two bicyclist. Mael and his passenger proceeded down the street and located a parking space when the bicyclists returned on foot and a physical altercation between the four men started. A witness reported that Mael was “knocked out” by one of the bicyclists and was last seen lying in the prone position in the middle of 42nd Street.

Meanwhile, a car driven by Defendant was traveling eastbound on 42nd Street. Defendant topped a slight his at the location where Mael was lying unconscious. Thereafter, Defendant continued eastbound on 42nd Street southbound to Broadway Boulevard before stopping his vehicle. Once the parties involved in the altercation realized Mael’s body was missing, the altercation ended. As Mael was no longer present in the roadway, his passenger and a local business employee begin running in pursuit of the blood trail present on 42nd Street to southbound Broadway Boulevard. After following the blood trail nearly three blocks, they discovered Mael’s body entangled in the undercarriage of Defendants’ motor vehicle.

Defendant admitted to the reporting officer at the accident scene that he had been drinking. Defendant stated to reporting officers that the had noticed a body in the roadway but didn’t know it was a body at the time. He further noted that he did not have time to avoid or get out of the way and then his motor vehicle felt like it was performing differently when he turned onto southbound Broadway Boulevard.

After the incident, Defendant was given a field sobriety test and blood alcohol test which indicated his BAC was in excess of the legal limit. Investigators also found half-empty alcohol containers in Defendant’s car. Plaintiff survived the incident and was transported to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries. He later died on June 6 due to blunt force trauma injuries to his head. Plaintiff was a graduate of Shawnee Mission North High School and worked at an area hardware store.

Mael’s mother brought a lawsuit alleging Defendant was negligent by failing to keep a careful lookout, striking and dragging her son with his motor vehicle which directly caused or directly contributed to cause of his death.

The Plaintiff settled with the Defendant’s insurance company, Auto Owners Insurance for the applicable policy limits of $1,500,000.00. As well, Plaintiff obtained settlements through AAA Insurance in the amount of $8,500.00

Cagle praised the Kansas City Police Department, “The police department’s collection of evidence was superior to that usually seen in pedestrian death cases. The KCPD collection of evidence really helped us make the case”.

Clifford K. Wells of Herman & Wells in Petersburg, Florida represented Plaintiff with Zane T. Cagle of The Cagle Law Firm.

Zagler, A.S. Mother of man dragged under car settles with driver. Missouri Lawyers Weekly 8/5/15.

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