How (and Why) The Truck Wreck Happened
A well-known company chose to hire a man with a questionable driving record. They put him behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler and sent him out on South Carolina’s roadways with little training. Over the course of his employment with the company, he committed 21 safety violations – including driving while fatigued, colliding with cars and posts while turning, driving an excessive number of consecutive hours, and operating an overweight vehicle with an improperly secured load.
All of these violations occurred prior to an early morning on a highway near Columbia, SC, where this same driver chose to turn left in front of an oncoming vehicle, resulting in a collision that nearly ended a man’s life. Fortunately for the driver of the oncoming vehicle, our South Carolina truck accident lawyer adds, he struck an axle on the trailer, rather than being crushed by the trailer’s under-ride. Though his back was broken (vertebral fracture), his wrist ligaments torn, and his brain concussed, the man thanked G-d for sparing his life.
Medical Bills and Other Consequences of the Truck Crash
The injured man was a longtime football coach. A tough guy. Someone who prided himself on providing for his family. Though he required surgery on both his back and his wrist, "Coach" scheduled those surgeries around breaks in the school year to avoid missing time from work. Nevertheless, medical balances are hard to pay on a public school salary, and Coach's family experienced a great deal of stress as bills kept coming in the mail.
There were significant concerns over whether Coach could ever return to the field as a result of his permanent physical impairments. Moreover, Coach struggled to recover from his concussion - also known as a mild TBI - in the months following the wreck. From memory loss to speech issues, Coach's TBI impacted both his work and personal life. He also had concerns over the long-term effects of his brain injury.
The company and its tractor-trailer driver's negligence set in motion a series of consequences that they could not reverse. Those consequences were foreseeable effects of sending a dangerous truck driver out on the road with our families, yet the company chose to do so anyway. South Carolina law - and my firm's mission to help protect our communities - demanded accountability.
What Happened In The Lawsuit Against the Company and The Driver of Its Tractor Trailer
This was a case the insurance company should have settled without a lawsuit even having to be filed. In fact, I explained to the insurance adjuster that if he refused to make a fair offer, I would conduct extensive discovery and likely uncover documents and other evidence that only increased the value of the case. Nonetheless, he refused to make any offer at all and we were forced to sue the company.
It wasn’t until we obtained a trial date that the insurance carrier offered a dime. While they continued to try to blame Coach for the wreck, they recognized that 21 safety violations – the root cause of which was an apathetic, out-of-state company – plus a church-going, longtime football coach whose former players were lining up to testify on his behalf, could result in a very large verdict.
Thus, our injury attorney adds, shortly before trial, they paid far more money than we initially asked for. The money did not un-break Coach’s back or reverse any brain damage, but it did prevent his suffering from going in vain. Additionally, we made the settlement contingent upon the company taking all necessary steps with the South Carolina Department of Transportation to get a traffic light at the intersection where the 18 wheeler wreck occurred in an effort to prevent future injury to other innocent people.