Our client, a resident of Chesapeake, Virginia (VA), was a long-distance trucker who parked his tractor trailer at a business premises. He was walking through the parking area to get a cup of coffee when he was hit by a tractor trailer. The operator of the big rig started his vehicle and began to make his way through the parking area black top to leave the premises. After he pulled forward just a short distance and was turning his rig to the left, he did not see our client and the front right tractor trailer tire entrapped both of our client's legs. The immense weight of the tractor trailer crushed both of our client's legs pinning him. The big rig operator said he felt something so he quickly stopped his 18-wheeler and discovered our client was unable to walk or move and was being tended to by bystanders.
Our client was attended to by the rescue squad and was rushed to a trauma hospital where he was hospitalized for nearly 30 days. Although no surgery was conducted, he suffered substantial crush-type injuries to his lower legs. At the end of his inpatient care, our client was transferred to a rehabilitation center in Chesapeake, Virginia close to his residence. He was provided workers' compensation benefits by his own employer, but retained our law firm to determine whether a negligence action could be filed against the trucker who ran him over.
Our client developed further medical problems and had to undergo a surgical procedure on one of his ankles after he was released from the rehabilitation facility. That surgery was conducted by a Virginia Beach orthopedic surgeon.
Key Legal Strategies
Our truck accident law firm researched the state law where the incident occurred (confidential) and determined that that state followed comparative negligence law. This means that if the injured person is less than 50 percent responsible for the incident, they can still recover in a negligence action against someone else that is primarily responsible for causing a harm. However, the amount of the injured victim's negligence reduces the overall financial recovery by the percentage of their own negligence. We did not believe our client was contributorily negligent at all or was in any way at fault, but even if the other trucker and the company he worked for argued that our client was partly to blame, we felt that it was a very small percentage, if any. There was excessive noise around from the other big rigs that had their engines running in the area and our client never heard the big rig approaching from the rear as he was walking in the opposite direction.
Our strategy was to utilize the State Commercial Driver's Manual and to show a number of violations by the trucker that had struck our client. According to the State Commercial Driver's License Manual training rules, we argued that the trucker failed to properly inspect the area ahead before he started his semi, that he failed to watch for pedestrians in his side view mirrors before he began moving from the fueling area, and we also pointed out several other training rules that were violated.
We retained a trucking safety expert who did a computer-assisted analysis of the height of the truck driver's perspective in the cab of the truck and also with animations showing a side view mirror perspective of person walking by the truck and walking ahead of the truck prior to the time that our client was struck. We were able to then simulate how may seconds the truck driver had and how the truck driver could see our client prior to the incident occurring.
We also retained a vocational expert, a jobs expert, to determine what residual wages our client could earn in light of his serious leg injury. The vocational counselor expert conducted an evaluation and provided a report on lost earning capacity losses. Based on the trucking safety expert and the vocational/wage loss expert, we were able to convince the trucking company to pay the substantial amounts which settled the case. Details of the party names and the court location remain confidential because of a written agreement with the parties involved.
Following a scheduled mediation which was actually postponed, we were able to settle this case for the sum of $420,000.00. Also, we were able to negotiate a substantial reduction in the medical and wage lien held by the workers' compensation employer of our client. This meant we were able to provide a more substantial amount of the settlement proceeds for our client. Importantly, our client developed another serious medical condition that had nothing to do with his leg injuries, and it was very important to settle this case prior to trial so we could get the proceeds to our client as early as possible.
$420,000.00 settlement (further details confidential)
Law Firm Staff
Richard N. Shapiro, Attorney
Andrew Thompson (Co‑Counsel)
R. Hughes, Paralegal
Paula M., Paralegal