A trucking company will pay $9 million to settle claims stemming from a distracted driving truck accident that left a motorist with catastrophic injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, according to The Legal Intelligencer.
A combination of drowsiness and distraction resulted in 71-year-old trucker David C. steering his tractor-trailer directly into the path of Deanne C., a 44-year-old New Jersey phlebotomist.
David, who reportedly takes medications for high blood pressure and diabetes, was talking on his cellphone moments before the crash, which occurred on Aug. 18, 2015, in the westbound lane of Route 322 in Logan Township, N.J.
NewJersey.com reported that three people were injured in the distracted driving truck accident. David, driving for corrugated pipes manufacturer Advanced Drainage Systems, had been traveling eastbound when he lost control of the Volvo tractor-trailer and struck a Chrysler minivan, a Nissan Sentra and a utility pole before his semi came to a rest in a field, the website states.
Rescue workers needed to use extrication equipment to free both Deanne and the other driver from their vehicles.
The plaintiff’s attorney told The Legal Intelligencer that his client “did everything right.”
“She was wearing her seatbelt and abiding by the speed limit and she was catastrophically injured,” he said. The attorney also said that there needs to be stricter enforcement of commercial truckers’ safety regulations.
“The failure to do so inevitably leads to a catastrophe,” he said.
According to the plaintiff’s legal team, Deanne suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as multiple foot and arm fractures, requiring her to spend more than a month in the hospital. Upon her release, Deanne had to move in with her mother and grandmother to assist her with the “activities of daily living.”
She also spent additional time in the hospital for surgeries to remove hardware placed in her wrist and foot.
The defense never denied David’s culpability in the crash, but the plaintiff’s counsel said it “strongly contested the extent” of her injuries, specifically claims of traumatic brain injury.
Defense lawyers cited the opinion of a neurologist who said Deanne’s injuries were not consistent with a traumatic brain injury and maintained that she could return to work.
But the doctor who treated Deanne, as well as a neurologist retained by the plaintiff, contradicted that assertion, stating that she indeed suffered a traumatic brain injury.
Deanne also filed a lost wages claim based on her plan to become a nurse.
A distracted driving truck accident reconstruction expert found that David’s actions were “the sole proximate cause of the accident,” according to The Legal Intelligencer.
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