Trucking Accident Cases, Trucking Accident Case Facts, Trucking Accident Injuries & Verdicts of Truck Accidents in various settings around the country.
Auto/Truck Accident – Construction Site – Erratic Driver Verdict: (P) $6,800,000.00
Case: Mason L. and Angela Bentley v. J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc. Howard W. Lutter, and Protective Insurance Co., No. 91CV538B
Facts: Plaintiff, an employee of the Department of Transportation, parked his vehicle at a construction site on I-85 in Jackson County. Defendant Lutter was operating a truck owned by Defendant J.B. Hunt Transport when he struck plaintiff’s stopped vehicle. Plaintiff alleged that: (1) Defendant Lutter had been driving the truck in an erratic manner for twenty miles prior to striking his vehicle; (2) Defendant Lutter was negligent in operating his truck in a reckless manner and in driving into the construction site, striking his stopped vehicle; and (3) Defendant J.B. Hunt was negligent in making excessive demands of its employees. Defendants contended that they were not negligent.
Injury: Permanent brain injury.
Verdict Information: $6,800,000, including $3.5 million in punitive damages.
Source: The Georgia Trial Reporter
Auto/Truck Accident – Disabled Truck Blocking Roadway Verdict: (P) $23,200,000.00
Case: Est. of Laverne N. Zachery v. Schneider National Carriers, Inc. and Truck Insurance Exchange, No. 88-CV-185
Facts: Plaintiff mother (Laverne) was driving her two children to the babysitter before going to work. Defendant Schneider National Carriers’ driver, who was driving a tractor-trailer, attempted to make a U-turn on Roosevelt Highway, causing the tires to go off the shoulder of the road and block the highway. Plaintiff, in the early morning darkness, drove under the truck, shearing off the top half of their vehicle. Plaintiff mother was killed instantly and Plaintiff Allyson, who was 5 years old, sustained a crush injury to her head. Plaintiffs alleged that defendant’s driver was negligent in failing to place flares or warning reflectors to warn motorists. Defendants admitted liability as to the child, but contended that plaintiff mother was contributorily negligent.
Injury: Laverne – wrongful death. Allyson – crushing head injury causing severe, permanent brain damage and partial blindness. Plaintiffs spouse Roderick claimed consortium. Plaintiffs claimed medical expenses of $130,000, future medical expenses of approximately $100,000, lost income of $510,000 and future group home costs of $1,500,000.
Verdict Information: $23,200,000 Breakdown: $ 8,200,000 compensatory damages 5,000,000 punitive damages – Allyson 10,000,000 punitive damages – Roderick Settlement Negotiations: Last Demand: $5,000,000 Last Offer: $2,800,000 Editor’s Comments The driver could not be located and, therefore, was never served. He was dismissed prior to trial. Per counsel, an eyewitness had warned the driver to place flares around the truck and had offered to call a tow truck. The driver allegedly told the eyewitness to “mind your own business.”
Source: The Georgia Trial Reporter
Auto/Truck Accident – Semi Backing Across Traffic Lanes Settlement: $9,140,000.00
Case: Diodato v. Pepsico, Inc., Michael Fanning, Pepsi Cola Metropolitan Bottling Co., New Bern Transportation Co., Inc. and Hillbrook, Inc., No. 98CV-12112JLT
Facts: Plaintiff was operating his vehicle on Route 3A in Sagamore at night. He drove around a bend and collided with a tractor trailer driven by Defendant Fanning and owned by Defendant New Bern. The truck, which was backing into Defendant Pepsi Cola Metropolitan’s plant, was stretched across both lanes of the two-lane highway. A Pepsi logo was covering the truck’s reflective tape at the time of the accident. Defendant Pepsico was the parent company for Pepsi Cola. Defendant Hillbrook was a Pepsi subsidiary that provided risk management and safety advice to Pepsi’s satellite facilities. Plaintiff alleged that the poor design of Pepsi’s Sagamore Beach facility forced tractor trailers to back into the parking lot, creating a hazardous situation. Also, plaintiff claimed that defendants rendered the reflective tape on the truck ineffective by covering it with a logo. Defendants contended that plaintiff was comparatively negligent in that he should have been more alert and should have seen the truck in time to avoid the accident.
Injury: Closed head injury resulting in a coma for four months. Plaintiff suffered a permanent brain injury, requiring 24 hour supervision.
Verdict Information: $9,140,000 Editor’s Comments This case settled during jury deliberations.
Source: The MA, CT, RI Verdict Reporter
Crushing Injury To Hand Incapacitates Truck Driver Arbitration: $1,586,360.00
Case: John Edward Crane v. Francisco Villafan Laguna and Ernesto Franco, No. RIC 330736
Facts: An arbitrator in Los Angeles awarded the plaintiff in excess of $1.5 million for his total disability following an accident with the defendants’ truck. Plaintiff John Edward Crane, a 38-year-old truck driver, was driving his 1988 Ford Festiva westbound on the I-10 Freeway near Banning. Without warning, a truck wheel and tire came bounding over the center median, striking the plaintiff’s vehicle at the drivers’ side “A” pillar and roof, crushing the plaintiff’s left hand that was outside of the window. The suit named the driver of the truck, Francisco Villafan Laguna, and his employer, Ernesto Franco, as defendants. The defendants admitted liability but argued that the plaintiff was able to work and was not as severely injured or psychologically damaged as he claimed.
Injury: The plaintiff sustained a crushing injury to his left, non-dominant hand, which required eight surgeries and multiple future surgeries. His hand remains deformed and claw-like, and he has lost over 70% function. He is virtually incapable of performing any activities that require the use of two hands and has difficulty with the most basic tasks including, but not limited to, dressing himself. The plaintiff also claimed that he suffered profound psychological trauma as a result of his injuries. He was diagnosed with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as severe major depressive disorder. Past medical costs of $100,103 and future medical costs of approximately $40,000 were submitted. In addition, the plaintiff claimed about $105,528 in earnings and benefits to date for being unable to work since the accident
Verdict Information: The case resolved by binding arbitration before retired judge Victor Barrera of ADR in Los Angeles, who awarded the plaintiff $1,586,360. John Edward Crane $786,360 economic damages $750,000 in non-economic damages Demand $1,500,000 Offer $300,000
Truck Accident – Exiting Terminal – Right-of-Way Settlement: $1,580,000.00
Case: Barry Alan Austin v. Alterman Transport Lines, Inc., No. 1:91-CV-2538-WCO
Facts: Plaintiff was driving on Thurmond Road in DeKalb County. Defendant Alterman Transport Lines’ employee, who was operating a tractor-trailer, exited defendant’s terminal and attempted to pull out onto westbound Thurmond Road. The employee allegedly failed to yield the right-of-way and struck plaintiff’s truck. Plaintiff had several opened and used beer cans in his truck at the time of the accident and he had several prior convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol. Police officers failed to take blood samples. Plaintiff was charged with failing to yield the right-of-way. Plaintiff alleged that defendant’s employee was negligent in failing to yield the right-of-way and in blocking his lane of travel. Defendant contended that: (1) plaintiff was traveling 75 m.p.h. at the time of the collision; (2) its driver looked both ways and did not observe plaintiff’s truck; and (3) plaintiff was contributorily negligent in speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol.
Injury: Multiple orthopedic injuries, blunt head trauma, right and left tibia-fibula (leg) fracture, closed left femur fracture, closed left radius and ulnar (arm) fracture, and open joint of small finger of right hand. Plaintiff claimed medical expenses of $150,000 and lost income of $26,000 per year.
Verdict Information: Structured settlement of $1,580,000 with present cash value of $800,000.
Source: The Georgia Trial Reporter