In a prior blog post, I discussed what to do after a truck accident occurs. In this blog post, I will focus on a specific example of a dangerous truck accident. A graduate student was driving in moderate stop-and-go traffic on the interstate. While he was stopped in a line of cars, a tanker truck driver that was traveling at about 25 mph rear ended a vehicle that was 2 cars behind the student’s vehicle. As a result, a chain-reaction impact occurred. The car behind the graduate student’s car rear ended his car, causing his seat to break. His car was then forced into the car in front of him.
The graduate student suffered major injuries, including multiple skull fractures, facial fractures, jaw fractures, sinus fractures, and a traumatic brain injury, which included a lesion in the hippocampus. He underwent multiple surgeries to try to repair the jaw fractures, and his jaw had to be wired shut for 8 weeks. Even worse, the injuries caused him to develop ischemic bone disease, osteoarthritis of the jaw, and other issues. These complications required additional surgeries for pain and for malocclusion.
He also underwent multiple pain management therapies. His medical expenses totaled about $142,000 and he will require additional surgeries and therapies to treat his jaw pain and other problems. He continues to have chronic pain and his brain injury has negatively affected his memory and he is no longer able to function at the level from before the collision.
The graduate student sued the trucking company, alleging that the driver was negligent in failing to keep a proper lookout and for its driver’s failure to brake timely to avoid causing the collision. The defendant admitted liability but disputed the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries. The defendant argued that the injuries would not affect the plaintiff’s future career plans.
The plaintiff demanded $7.31 million, while the defendant offered $5 million. The jury awarded $17.4 million, including $7 million for past pain and suffering, $5.5 million for future pain and suffering, about $2.75 million for future medical expenses, $2 million for future loss of earnings capacity, approximately $142,000 for past medical expenses, and about $5,100 for past lost earnings. Since then, the case has been settled.
This case illustrates the dangers that trucks can pose to other vehicles on the roadway. What may have been caused by a simple failure to pay attention to the traffic conditions ahead resulted in catastrophic injuries to an innocent driver. Although the vast majority of truckers are good, safe drivers, a simple mistake while on the road can have drastic, far-reaching consequences.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a truck accident, it is recommended that you speak with experienced legal counsel immediately.