A victim rear-ended by a tractor-trailer driver received a $3.35 million settlement from the driver’s employer and defendant, Oakley Trucking.
Plaintiff Thomas M. East was driving his pickup along Loop 410 in San Antonio, TX, when the truck driver, David Henefield, struck him from behind. East filed suit alleging the driver was distracted and inattentive to the road, thus causing the collision.
East sustained multiple injuries including a traumatic brain injury, concussion and back herniation. According to the plaintiff’s biochemical expert, head and neck injuries were a likely result from the rear-end collision.
Although East suffered from prior-concussion syndrome from prior incidents, the additional accident contributed to severe mood swings, memory impairment and insomnia.
The plaintiff presented expert testimony that confirmed that hands-free devices are allowed while driving but does not offer any safety benefits over normal calls.
The defense argued the accident was unavoidable because the plaintiff’s sudden halt left Henefield no time to stop. However, the defenses’s "sudden emergency" and "unavoidable accident" defenses were dismissed at summary judgment.
The plaintiff argued Oakley Trucking allowed drivers to send text messages and make calls while driving in violation of federal regulations. Additionally, plaintiff noted the driver made five calls within 15 minutes of the collision.
In response to the allegations, Oakley stated incoming calls received prior to the incident were dropped and left unanswered, maintaining their position that their driver was not in violation of any federal regulations.
The plaintiff sought among other damages, $1.78 million for past and future medical expenses, $975,200 for lost wages, and a little over $48,000 for household services.
This case was handled by The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Attorney Ryan Zehl.