In the early morning hours of a typical day, a 60-year-old grandmother pulled off the road and to change a tire. While changing the tire, she was hit by a commercial truck. Prior to this incident, the woman was employed as a warehouse foreman, earning $25,000.00 per year). After the injury and treatment, she received Social Security because she was no longer able to perform that job.
Plaintiff’s injuries resulting from being hit included non-surgical fractures of the left leg, a broken bone in her neck, and a broken nose. While being evaluated and treated in the local hospital emergency room, a CT scan also showed bleeding on the brain. Photos of plaintiff’s bloody and swollen face supported the injury claim of a traumatic brain injury. The medical costs submitted for previous treatment included an inpatient stay and a hospital and at a rehabilitation facility ($100,000.00).
The defendant’s attorney argued that the traumatic brain injury did not constitute a permanent impairment of mental and/or physical function. The severity of plaintiff’s injuries was clear (and were substantiated by the photos).
Details of the event
Defense attorneys claimed that plaintiff changing the tire in the right lane of a major roadway at the time she was hit, rather than pulling off the road, should be considered contributory negligence, which in Virginia would have ended the possibility of winning a judgment or a settlement. Defendant also argued that the poor condition of plaintiff’s vehicle also contributed to the event.
Plaintiff’s attorney maintained a favorable view of the case for plaintiff. The defendant’s insomnia raised questions about his fatigue or distraction at the time of the event. Plaintiff’s attorney successfully argued that the insomnia explained the truck driver’s failure to see the flashers on the plaintiff’s vehicle.
The case did not go to court, but was settled after a lengthy mediation. A future medical cost analysis, which included in-home care for symptoms and deficits caused by the traumatic brain injury was presented. In addition, past lost wages and medical bills were included in the settlement. This plan was ineffectively challenged by the defense attorney. A Medicare set-aside was required. The total amount of the settlement was $1,159,000.00.
The first lesson of this case is to get well off the road before changing a tire. Also, ensure your flashers are working properly.
This case of a woman hit by a truck while changing a tire is particular interesting for several reasons. First, the defense attorney’s attempt to demonstrate contributory negligence on the plaintiff’s part, if successful, could have removed all possibility of a financial settlement. Second, it should underscore for anyone injured in a vehicle accident of any kind, the importance of obtaining photos of one’s injuries immediately after the event, and throughout the healing and recovery process. Third, it raises the matter of driving drowsy (due to defendant’s insomnia) and its role in many accidents.
This case underscores the importance of consulting a qualified and experienced attorney when injured. Plaintiff’s attorney was able to overcome the defense attorney’s arguments and maintain focus on the life-changing injuries sustained by Plaintiff. Plaintiff’s attorney also obtained a substantial life care plan for the plaintiff that established the context of the final settlement amount. Without an attorney, this step might have been overlooked and the mediation might have focused on a dispute over the amount defendant’s insurance company was willing to pay.
If you or a loved one is injured due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another, you need an experienced attorney to represent your interests. When you need an aggressive and trusted attorney to protect and represent your interests, call Altizer Law, P.C. We are here to protect you and to obtain justice for you.