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Truck car collision results in low back injury ($600,000 settlement)

Client was driving her SUV to work during morning rush hour in the slow lane of three highway traffic lanes. The defendant driver of an eighteen wheel vehicle traveling in the center lane merged into client’s lane without warning, colliding with the side of client’s vehicle and forcing her off the roadway. Client’s vehicle flipped onto its side and rolled over at least 2 times. Client, who had a history of low back pain, experienced an onset of severe pain and required a lumbar fusion.

Dempsey and Kingsland action

The defendant truck driver contended that she was not at fault because client had attempted to pass her truck on the right side and entered a “blind spot” such that the truck driver could not see our client’s vehicle. We arranged an inspection of the subject truck which revealed that proper use of the truck’s mirrors provided a complete and unobstructed view of the right side of the truck and any objects appearing in the proximity of the right side of the truck. Our inspection of the truck also revealed the presence of a 12″ x 12″ window in the passenger door in the area at which the truck collided with client’s vehicle and forced it off the roadway. At deposition, the truck driver admitted that proper use of the truck’s window would have caused her to see client’s vehicle. When asked why she had not seen the client’s vehicle in the window of the passenger door before she collided with client, the defendant admitted that she had placed a clipboard on the passenger side of the on the floorboard and that the clipboard was covering the window. This constituted a safety violation because the window acts as a safety device (to assist in lane changes). Our discovery also revealed that defendant had failed to disclose a material witness to the accident whom defendant apparently wished to call as a surprise witness at trial to support the defense contention that the collision was the fault of our client. Having found the witness through our investigation, we deposed this witness and determined that his testimony lacked credibility.

The case settled for $600,000.