Salesperson Recovers $20M in Motor Vehicle Negligence Matter

August 25, 2016 by

On May 2, 2008, a 47-year-old woman was driving home from a business trip. Proceeding through an intersection on a green light, her car collided with an 18,000 pound tractor-trailer traveling at approximately 35 miles per hour, which ran a red light. The woman’s car was struck with such force that it was propelled into a utility pole. The tractor-trailer was traveling at such a high speed that it destroyed the entire left side of the woman’s vehicle. According to CalTrans, this truck was near the upper limit for weight, which caps at 20,000 pounds.

The woman had to be extracted from her vehicle, by removing the door at the scene of the collision. She was diagnosed with a subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain area), a concussion and retrograde amnesia (loss of memory prior to a traumatic event). She suffers from severe cognitive impairments as a result of her injuries and has been unable to return to work since the collision. She was employed as a sales representative for a home security company. She was required to move in with her cousin who helps to care for her financially and physically.

The tractor-trailer driver left the accident site without reporting the accident or securing any medical assistance for the woman.

The tractor-trailer driver had been hired and fired by the trucking company. He held 15 different jobs in the trucking industry since 1999 and was terminated for safety issues from many jobs. He also has a well-documented litany of attempts to under-report and cover up his own safety violations and traffic accidents.

The trucking company denied liability. The driver gave two separate statements where he alleged that the plaintiff ran the red light and collided into his vehicle, which had the right-of-way. This however, was not consistent with eyewitness statements.

During the week that the trial was scheduled to commence, the driver admitted liability for the collision. At that time, the driver stated that he blacked out and could not recall the accident. However, he gave two different detailed versions of the accident to a police officer and the woman’s insurance adjuster within days of the accident. In both statements, the driver said that the woman proceeded through a red light, in contrast to the eyewitness statements. Later, he claimed to have suffered an emergency arising from kidney failure that led him to black out. Both of the defense theories were disproven by the woman’s counsel at trial.

The trial lasted for three weeks. The jury returned its verdict in the amount of $20,011,788 for the woman, which consisted of $12,000,000 for past and future pain and suffering, as well as over $7,000,000 for future medical expenses.


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