Most of us have experienced a moment or two of uneasiness when we are on a highway near a truck with an oversized load. There are unique dangers associated with drivers of oversized loads; listen to your uneasiness. Remain alert and aware when near them. While most truck drivers, including those hauling oversized loads, are excellent safe drivers. Sometimes, however, a truck driver fails to allow for the size of the load when passing or turning. One such incident resulted in a suit a few years ago in the Roanoke County Circuit Court. This case was settled for $1.5 million.
Plaintiff was driving in the right lane of I-81 in a one-ton truck. A tractor trailer hauling an oversized load (a concrete jail cell) tried to pass plaintiff’s vehicle in the left lane. The jail cell was wider than the tractor and overhung the trailer by almost 2 ½ feet. When the tractor trailer attempted to pass the plaintiff’s truck, the oversized load collided with the left rear of the plaintiff’s truck. Plaintiff’s truck made several 360 degree spins, flipped over the guardrail, when it became airborne. Plaintiff’s vehicle landed in a 30 foot drainage ditch beside the highway.
The plaintiff suffered numerous injuries, including an open head injury due to something that caused a scalping injury affecting his head, ear, and eye. The head injury included a skull fracture that was pressing into his brain, without damage to the dural lining. Other injuries included a broken collarbone and ligament damage to his shoulder, and injuries to the tissues of his neck and back.
The plaintiff was hospitalized for five days and unable to return to work for six months. After working for seven months, plaintiff saw a Neurorehabilitation specialist, who permanently restricted him from work due to his post-accident hearing deficits, damage to his frontal lobe which caused balance difficulties, judgment challenges, and reduced attention span. The injury to the right side of the brain left plaintiff with weakness on the left side that left him with difficulties walking a performing a range of other activities.
The trauma surgeon treating plaintiff took graphic pictures both before and after surgery showing the severity of plaintiff’s injuries. Also providing insight into the crash was a woman driving behind plaintiff. The defense tried to argue that plaintiff’s vehicle swerved into the left lane. The witness clarified that this was not the case. The case was settled one month prior to the scheduled court date. Plaintiff sought $11 million in damages and losses. The case was settled in mediation for the limits of the relevant insurance companies for $1.5 million.
Drivers should always drive defensively and be aware of the movements of other vehicles near them. Particular care should be exercised when driving near tractor trailers hauling oversized loads.
If you or a loved one is injured in any collision with another vehicle, you might have grounds for a lawsuit. At Altizer Law, P.C., our trusted attorneys will hear you with compassion, and fight for you in court or in mediation.