Client Case: Truck Accident Passenger Injury
D.W. was a front-seat passenger in a vehicle that was struck by a UDF truck making deliveries. D.W. received broken arms and legs, as well as internal injuries. Stephenson was retained by D.W.’s personal counsel to prepare and try the case. Discovery determined that the UDF driver had multiple driving violations. Stephenson retained numerous experts to show the jury the devastating effects of the injuries.
Before trial, the defendant’s company stated that a jury in a small southern county in Indiana would never return a verdict for $1 million in this case. The defendant was correct; the verdict was twice that amount.
A Family Devastated
C.W. was a 34 year old female on her way home from vacation with her husband and son, Z.M. They were traveling in southern Illinois in a motor home returning from a trip to Arkansas when the motor home broke down in the middle of the night. A call to the state police was made. Before the police arrived, the Foodliner semi ran into the rear of the motor home. C.W. and Z.M. were laying down in a bed in the back of the motor home when it was struck by the semi.
– C.W. received catastrophic injuries, including significant internal injuries, seven fractured vertebrae, and a severe crushing injury to the left foot, which eventually resulted in the amputation of the left leg at the knee. C.W. was hospitalized for over four months and incurred medical expenses in excess of $1.4 million.
– Z.M. was more critically injured than his mother and is believed to have been run over by the tires of the semi. He received very severe crushing injuries to his low back and legs, which resulted in the loss of significant skin and muscle tissue, as well as nerve damage in the low back that resulted in near total paraplegia to the lower body. Z.M. was hospitalized for over six months and incurred medical expenses in excess of $1.6 million.
The driver logs submitted by the Foodliner driver to the police showed the driver as being current and within regulations. A thorough investigation by truck accident attorney Mike Stephenson included subpoenaing the data from the GPS system utilized by the trucking company to track the location of the semi. This information was subpoenaed for the six months prior to the date of the loss. The information proved that the driver had repeatedly violated Federal Motor Carrier Regulations limiting the hours of service.
The specific location of the truck for the four day trip prior to the accident was placed on a map showing its route and every location the truck stopped. With the use of a computer, we were able to draw the route of the truck and compare the locations directly to the log book entries made by the driver for this period of time. The evidence was overwhelming to show the number of hours the truck was moving while the log book entries from the driver indicated the driver was asleep in the cab.
The experts retained by Mike Stephenson included not only numerous medical experts to demonstrate the significant injuries of both plaintiffs, but also the individual who is credited with drafting part of the motor carrier safety regulations concerning the hours a driver is allowed to drive.
Confidential settlements were reached in favor of both C.W. and Z.M.
Truck Accident Case: Failure to Stop
“M.R.” was a very bright, hard-working, and out-going young man who had the unique ability to visualize items and then build them and put them to use. At his young age, he had already created more than one tool that was used by his employer.
M.R.’s life was changed forever when he was driving home and a semi owned by Swift Transportation failed to stop at an intersection and slammed into M.R.’s pick-up truck causing closed head injuries to M.R. M.R. was a very strong and vibrant young man and had virtually no visible injuries from the accident. However, his head was thrown into the frame of the vehicle as he was struck by the semi resulting in his being placed in a coma and receiving a significant traumatic brain injury.
A year after the accident, if you looked at M.R., you would have no way of knowing he had ever been in an accident. However, use of state-of-the-art technology, medical and psychological evaluations, and assessment techniques allowed Stephenson to demonstrate that the crushing injury from the impact by the semi had forever changed M.R. M.R. had lost his happy, out-going, pleasant personality and he was now mean, hard to get along with, and short-tempered. His creative mind no longer functioned. He was extremely frustrated by the fact that he was well aware that he cannot do today, nor will he ever be able to again do, the jobs and tasks that he was able to perform prior to the accident. With a thorough investigation and the utilization of state-of-the-art technology, Stephenson was able to demonstrate the catastrophic effect that the accident had on M.R.
The matter settled for an undisclosed sum shortly before the beginning of trial.
Lawsuit Summary: Overloaded Truck
B.Z. was seriously injured in a trucking accident when the semi that he was driving ran into the back of a semi that had pulled from the side of the interstate. Stephenson was hired after two other attorneys had turned the case down and, through a thorough investigation, was able to establish that the truck that B.Z. ran into was overloaded by nearly 50% of the maximum capacity of the vehicle. The truck driver was in violation of numerous motor carrier regulations concerning the safe operation of the truck, and the truck driver acknowledged in deposition that he had placed a separate axle and set of tandem wheels under his semi so he could regularly haul overweight loads in violation of the motor carrier regulations. B.Z. received a confidential settlement to compensate him for his injuries and significant missed time from work, as well as his on-going pain and discomfort.
Semi Driver’s Negligence Causes Permanent Injury to Young Woman
A semi driver was pulling his truck out from a gas station intending to turn left across two southbound lanes. M.R. was going about 68 miles per hour when her contact felt like it slipped in her eye. he rubbed her eye, looked back at the road, and saw the semi blocking her lane of travel. She was unable to avoid striking the semi’s trailer. Her car was totaled and her foot was pinned by the crumpled front end of her car. The fire department had to extract her from the vehicle and whisk her away to Methodist for immediate surgery. She suffered a very severe fracture of her foot along with several other significant injuries.
The driver of the semi testified in detail about his activities the day of the crash, about his stop at the gas station, and about the crash itself. He placed all the blame for the crash on M.R. He testified that he had nearly completed his left turn across the two southbound lanes prior to being hit. The speed limit was 50 miles per hour and he blamed M.R.’s speed and distracted driving for the crash. By meticulously reconstructing a 16-camera video surveillance produced by the gas station, Rife and Stephenson were able to prove that the semi driver’s account of his activities at the gas station was blatantly false.
They were also able to prove that he was completely blocking M.R.’s lane of travel and she could not avoid striking the truck. The trucking company paid M.R. $250,000 at mediation.