A woman driving on a rural roadway late at night on her way to pick up her son was met with disaster at the hands of a trucking company’s negligence.
“When a driver breaks a rule or makes a poor judgment that leads to a mistake, it can instantly turn other unwary motorists’ lives upside down. The commercial motor vehicle driver that caused this crash violated a laundry list of written safety rules the company had in place,” said Beasley Allen attorney Chris Glover. “The sad thing is that his company allowed it to happen. This was quite possibly the most preventable case I’ve ever had.”
The woman was driving westbound. A commercial motor vehicle driver stopped his tractor-trailer in the eastbound lane and started backing across the westbound lanes into his driveway. The tractor was positioned in the eastbound lane of the roadway in a way that it appeared to oncoming motorists as if it was regular traffic traveling East.
Between the darkness, the limited range of her headlights, and the glare of the commercial vehicle’s powerful HID headlights flashing between low and high beams blinding her, the woman was unable to see the tractor trailer’s reflective conspicuity tape at its radically obtuse angle and register that the commercial vehicle driver was blocking the entire westbound lane of traffic. She crashed into the tractor-trailer.
This case presented tremendous challenges that occur anytime your client hits another vehicle. The Defendants denied liability and blamed her for causing the wreck. It was only through substantial discovery and numerous depositions that those defenses were addressed.
“There were many human factors reasons why she couldn’t avoid what was in her way. The company’s training materials really helped by acknowledging the perception problem our client faced as she approached the tractor-trailer in her lane,” said attorney Bruce Hagen of Hagen Rosskopf.
According to the trucking company’s internal documents, it was determined that the CMV driver violated company policy by attempting to park his vehicle at an unapproved parking location.
“Parking at an unapproved location was the root cause of this accident. The truck driver would not have attempted to park his vehicle at home if he complied with the company’s policy. He would not have blocked the road and created the conditions that caused our client to crash,” said Hagen.
Beasley Allen and Hagen Rosskopf’s client sustained serious, permanent, and life-altering injuries as a result of the collision, including multiple open wounds on her head and ear, acute respiratory failure with hypoxemia, and acute brain hemorrhaging. A head CT scan revealed probable subarachnoid hemorrhaging of the right frontal region of her brain. She experiences deficiencies in motor speed, psychomotor speed, reaction time, cognitive flexibility, processing speed, and executive function. Her impaired executive function leaves her unable to make appropriate decisions, causing her to require regular supervision and she has difficulty participating in conversations. She exhibits short-term and long-term memory loss. Physicians state that she is significantly impaired and is unlikely to make significant improvements in neurocognitive function.
“I’m thankful our firms could work together to help our client live as normal a life as possible. She will have ongoing health needs for the rest of her life because of the crash. Luckily, she will have the financial means to live in a safe place for the rest of her life.” said Beasley Allen attorney Cole Portis.
The plaintiff alleged claims of negligence and wantonness against the trucking company and truck driver for the injuries she suffered in the accident. She also alleged negligent hiring, training, and supervision claims as well as agency claims against the trucking company.
The plaintiff was represented by Chris Glover and Cole Portis of Beasley Allen Law Firm and Bruce Hagen and Matt Hagen of Hagen Rosskopf LLC in Decatur, GA. A joint settlement was reached in the amount of $5,750,000.00.