CASE DESCRIPTION: Collision Between Two Big Rigs Creates Fireball
COURT/DATE: Brunswick County Circuit Court, Virginia, February, 2007
OUTCOME: Case settled at mediation for $450,000.00, from the liability insurer, Travelers Insurance Co., plus additional monies from the client’s workers’ compensation insurer
WHAT HAPPENED: Tractor-trailer from Massachusetts was parked at night on Interstate 85, mostly on the shoulder but partly in the right-hand lane. Our client, driving a big rig with double trailers, clipped the left rear corner of the stopped vehicle, because there was a third truck passing him in the left-hand lane at the same time. A huge fireball resulted and our client was ejected from his rig. Our client, J.T., suffered various broken bones and had significant gastroentrological and urological problems as a result of the wreck. J.T., age 43, was not able to return to his old job as a truck driver.
KEY LEGAL STRATEGY: One of the main problems with this case was that the insurer tried to blame our client for contributing to cause the accident by running into a vehicle in front of him. We retained an expert with many years as a trucking safety director to explain the challenges to a big rig driver coming across this dangerous circumstance to try to show that J.T. was not contributorily negligent. The Defendant had an accident reconstructionist providing opinions to try to prove that the Defendant was completely in the shoulder and not in J.T.’s lane of travel at the time of impact. We were able to show that the accident reconstructionist was doing junk science because his opinions were not based upon sufficient foundation like physical evidence from the scene. By getting the court, before trial, to strike this accident reconstruction testimony, we put the client’s case in a position to be resolved on the basis of J.T.’s word versus the out-of-state trucker.
RESULTS: Case settled at mediation for $450,000.00, from the parked truck’s insurance, plus additional monies and concessions from the client’s workers’ compensation insurer.
STAFF: John C., Attorney Rosalyn Hughes, Paralegal Vera Spurrier, Legal Assistant