Woman Wins $650,000 Jury Award Following Crash Caused by Truck Driver Operating on Bald Tires | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

What Happened

Our North Carolina personal injury client suffered disabling leg injuries when a farm truck crashed into her car in Northampton County. The debilitating accident happened when the truck, a farm vehicle towing a water tank on the highway, lost a tire tread and its driver could no longer control the vehicle.

The woman we represented had her leg broken in two places. Surgeons repaired the damage by inserting a metal rod and connecting bone fragments with plates and screws.

While our truck accident client was eventually able to walk again without crutches, she could not return to her job as a distribution warehouse worker. She also developed long-lasting depression and other forms of psychological trauma from the crash and her lengthy, painful recovery.


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Key Legal Strategy

When the injured and out-of-work truck crash victim hired our North Carolina personal injury attorney, the first thing he did was obtain a copy of the official police report on the crash. The truck driver told investigators that the tire tread separated unexpectedly. An examination of the vehicle by a mechanical engineer, however, revealed that all the remaining tires on the farm truck were “bald, cracked and recapped.”

After establishing that the truck driver should have know his tires were dangerous and in need of replacement, our attorney interviewed his client’s orthopedist and reviewed the client’s medical records. The doctor confirmed that, as a result of the crash, the woman had become too disabled to keep doing the physically demanding work she had performed at the distribution warehouse. She could take a desk job, but she was 45 and had none of the education or experience required for such a position.

Last, our personal injury attorney hired a labor economist to calculate his client’s lost lifetime earnings. Combining that number with her doctors bills, estimates of the costs for ongoing physical and mental health care, and a determination of fair monetary damages for pain and suffering led our North Carolina personal injury attorney to demand an insurance settlement of $500,000. That was the maximum amount of coverage carried by the truck driver.

The insurance company refused to settle, and the case went before a jury. After hearing and seeing all the evidence, jurors ordered the truck driver and his insurer to pay our client $650,000.

Mechanical failures cause many serious truck accident. North Carolina law requires truck owners and operators to keep their vehicles in proper repair. When they fail to do so and cause collisions that leave innocent victims injured, our attorneys welcome opportunities to hold the negligent parties accountable.

Court and Date: Northampton County Superior Court, Jackson, NC, August 2003

Staff: Staff attorney