category: Car Accidents
$180,000 Car Accident Settlement
$180,000 Car Accident Settlement. Our client, a 42-year-old male, was seriously injured while operating his vehicle at night on the right side of the roadway, within the speed limit and carefully looking ahead, when all of a sudden he significantly impacted his vehicle and totaling it, and all as a result of stray, black 750 pound steers on the roadway.
Defendant farmer/owner of the several head of cattle out of their containment (with some of which on the roadway) contested whether the law would provide for a recovery in this instance, given that he had done all possible to secure and contain his animals and had no real reason to know why the cattle escaped from a quality containment system except that someone must have unlatched the closure to allow the animals to escape.
A rigorous investigation was undertaken, talking with upwards of 20 neighbors in an effort to identify the conditions of the farm operation and its fencing and containment, and whether the farmer had any prior occasions where animals were improperly running at large. The goal was to uncover sufficient evidence to shift the legal constant of providing great protection for farmers from suits against them for their animals running at large by investigating to discover factors showing that the farmer had not taken all appropriate measures for a safe farm operation. The defendant farmer/owner, upon questioning during his deposition about whether he had any prior occasions of any animals at large at any time during the five year period prior to the subject incident, testified that he only had two or three such episodes, and on those occasions, they were simply smaller calves having gone under the fence wire and were immediately recovered. Our firm’s efforts developed evidence contrary to the defendant’s assertions, when in fact some twenty (20) plus neighbors in the region were well aware of frequent and regular incidents of the defendant’s animals running at large. In fact, the local sheriff department had incidents in the five-year period prior to this occurrence numbering approximately (60) such incidents documenting large steers escaping from the defendant’s fencing and containment.
The actual evidence uncovered of the recent history of the farm operation led the defendant’s attorney to suggest that a formal mediation might be of benefit. Such a formalized session was conducted with representatives of the insurance company and plaintiffs present and ultimately a settlement was struck for $180,000.00 to reach closure.
Plaintiff was a self-employed laborer/builder and was able to estimate income losses in the approximate range of $15,000.00 to $30,000.00 over several years during his medical care and treatment and from his income losses as a result of his restrictions and limits. He was ultimately able to clearly support his right hand and wrist injuries to this incident. An MRI of the plaintiff’s right shoulder confirmed trabecular micro fracturing within the distal acromion without a tear. The MRI of his right wrist confirmed a closed fracture of the lunate bone which was initially cast and splinted. Following medications and unsuccessful sessions of therapy, further diagnostic testing showed a pre-existing condition that was aggravated and exacerbated by the trauma from this vehicular crash which led to surgical intervention for a TFCC tear within the radial attachment. He ultimately underwent a radial carpal arthroscopy, synovectomy, and debridement of the central triangular fibrocartilage complex tear, right mid carpal arthroscopy, and the application of a short-arm splint. Following that he underwent extensive physical therapy and medications and worked on gaining more strength and function to his extremity. All of the radiological films ultimately confirmed the traumatic nature of his injuries arising from the crash. His condition improved but he still suffers a chronic, permanent loss of strength and stamina in his right wrist and arm.
His medical charges approximated $80,000.00. But with significant savings from what ultimately was required to be paid for unpaid and reimbursable amounts related to his medical charges resulting from the incident, and after all legal costs and expenses, he was able to net a low six-figure, tax-free recovery with all obligations paid.