Jeffrey N. Catalano and Eric Asquith obtained a $3.5 million settlement on behalf of their client, a bicyclist who suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was struck in the afternoon by a commercial box truck.
The cyclist was wearing a helmet and riding his bicycle in the designated and marked bike lane at the time of collision. The truck driver failed to pay attention and yield the right of way to the cyclist when the driver made a left turn at an intersection.
The injured client had numerous injuries and underwent emergency surgery, including a craniotomy, followed by months of rehab. He returned to work full-time six months after the accident and did not have a claim for lost wages. He also returned to active duty in the Navy Reserves.
However, his treating neurophyschologist and neurologist provided expert opinions that his ongoing cognitive impairment, which included difficulty multi-tasking, diminished his work capabilities and earning capacity. This was substantiated by a co-worker.
During discovery, plaintiff's counsel discovered that the truck driver had numerous warnings, citations, and performance evaluations arising from poor attention on the road. The truck driver suffered from untreated ADHD, which his employer was not aware of prior to the accident. As a result, they added a separate claim for negligent hiring and retention against the trucking company and obtained a truck safety expert to substantiate the claims.
The client was 35 years old and unmarried with no children at the time of the accident.
The case settled at mediation at the close of discovery.
"Hopefully this settlement will send a message that trucking companies must take responsibility to ensure that they hire drivers who are qualified to operate a large commercial vehicle," Mr. Catalano said. "And, if they repeatedly demonstrate that they are poor drivers, the company must take disciplinary measures to ensure that problem drivers do not present a hazard on the road to the public."