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When Eddie—a retired Vietnam vet and church deacon—wanted to get out of the house, he’d hop in his pickup, drive to Andalusia, and get a burger and a Coke. It was on one of these occasions that Eddie was driving home on Conecuh County Road 42. It was a route Eddie knew well; this area is his home.
As he came up a hill in a heavily wooded area, a big truck loaded with oilfield equipment sped out of a hidden private road and into Eddie’s lane. The trailer crashed into the front of his pickup, sending his vehicle flying into the trees on the side of the road. Eddie, who had been driving at 50 miles per hour, hit several trees before his truck flipped three times.
Mercifully, Eddie survived.
It was immediately clear that Eddie needed help. The truck’s spotter, a person who rides in the truck with the driver to help them keep a lookout on the road, rushed over and exclaimed, “man, I’m so sorry, I didn’t see your truck!”
Even though he’d just rolled several times and had a broken back, Eddie knew there was something “off” about the man’s apology. But he couldn’t do anything about it—he was too busy being rushed to the hospital to be treated for his injuries.
Once the responding officer got to the crash scene, he made an accident report that blamed Eddie for not being entirely in his lane and said that the truck driver was fully stopped before pulling into traffic.
As soon as our team discovered the trucking company had said they’d been entirely stopped at the end of the private drive before entering the highway, we knew something was off about their story. Eddie, who had lived in Conecuh County his whole life, knew the roads well. It seemed incredibly unlikely that Eddie would drive so recklessly.
We dug deeper into their account and discovered from eyewitnesses that the responding police officer asked the truck driver to “reenact” what happened a few times to make sure he “got it right.” Of course, this version of events made sure to put the driver and his spotter in the best light possible. According to the report, the truck had been fully stopped before entering the highway and didn’t see Eddie’s truck until he had crashed into them.
Our team was stunned; in all our years of working as trial attorneys, we’d never heard of a police officer relying so heavily on the opinion of an at-fault driver to create their accident report.
Upon further investigation, we also learned that the trucker was claiming Eddie wasn’t entirely in his lane at the time of the crash, which wasn’t true. We also discovered that the person driving the truck was driving this route for the first time that day—even more reason for him to stop and check at the end of the road before merging into traffic.
Determined to get to the bottom of things, we reconstructed the accident and learned the truth we had suspected all along: the truck darted into the road going roughly 25 miles per hour and without stopping to check to make sure the road was clear. Eddie had about three seconds to react to and avoid impact, an impossible amount of time for even the most skilled driver. Furthermore, based on the part of Eddie’s pickup that was damaged, it was clear that the truck had run into him, not the other way around.
A big truck with an elevated cabin and two “professionals” inside to keep a lookout and drive responsibly should have stopped at the corner and checked before pulling into traffic. This accident should never have happened.
While our team was busy investigating and building Eddie’s case, Eddie was recovering from a badly broken back with the help of his wife of 51 years, Claire. One of his vertebrates was crushed in the crash, and he needed a procedure called a kyphoplasty to repair the damage. This surgery involved inserting a special needle into the damaged bone, inflating it like a balloon, and then filling it with cement to keep the spine stable.
According to one of his doctors, “people who need a kyphoplasty are usually in miserable pain.” And while Eddie’s condition improved, he still needed extensive care to improve his quality of life. In addition to the surgeries, he received multiple steroid and cortisone shots to relieve the pain. However, these treatments were not completely effective; Eddie still lives with chronic pain.
Eddie used to enjoy traveling with Claire, walking and running, working in his garden, and being involved in his community. After the wreck, Eddie needed extensive treatment for pain, struggled with confidence, and found himself “on the sidelines of life.” Even Claire admitted their strong relationship was suffering because of the crash.
The cost of Eddie’s crash was astronomical—financially, emotionally, and interpersonally. It was clear that Eddie and Claire deserved compensation and closure.
Professional truck drivers need to take extra care on the road. The average fully loaded truck can be as much as 40 times as heavy as a passenger car. The truck that hit Eddie was a heavy-duty lowboy rigged up for the oil industry, carrying an oversized load. The truck had 34 wheels and weighed about 100,000 pounds. It was 78 feet long. The driver and spotter’s lack of care and reckless indifference to others on the road, especially given the size of the load and status as professionals, was unbelievable.
We tried to negotiate a settlement that would take care of Eddie for the rest of his life, but the company refused. We had no choice but to take his case to trial.
Many personal injury lawyers would rather not try cases. It can be risky, especially if you’re not prepared or don’t know how to explain complicated issues to judges and juries.
At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, our priority is making sure our clients get the best outcome possible. We fight to win, and if that means going to trial, we give it our all in the courtroom.
We built a strong case for Eddie that demonstrated his responsibility and the truck driver and spotter’s negligence.
One of the trucking company’s primary “defenses” was Eddie’s injuries were “preexisting.” As an older veteran, Eddie experienced some intermittent back pain from an old injury. The truck company’s lawyers tried to deny responsibility, despite Eddie’s broken back being plainly caused by the crash. Their defenses were a flimsy attempt to get out of taking responsibility for their employees’ recklessness, and the jury saw right through it.
In the end, the jury decided that the trucking company was at fault and owed Eddie $3 million in damages. This verdict is enough to cover his bills, pain and suffering, lost quality of life, and his many other losses.
Winning big for Eddie is one of our proudest moments as a team.
We understand the devastating physical, and emotional pain that injured people like Eddie have to endure after a crash. Our attorneys have years of experience handling big truck wreck cases and can fight back against powerful trucking companies to get you the compensation you need to recover, find closure, and move on.
If you have questions about your truck accident case, don’t wait to schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers by calling 251-888-8888 or by completing our simple online contact form.
Our personal injury firm has locations in Mobile, Foley, Daphne, and throughout Alabama and Mississippi. We’re ready to hear from you!
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.
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