Personal Injury News: Pick of Last Month: Dec-2018

Thursday, Nov 29, 2018

On November 9, a Tampa jury awarded $2,576,069 to a Jacksonville CSX railroad conductor who got severely bruised when his freight train collided with a tractor-trailer at a Lakeland, Fla. railroad crossing. The final judgment was given out on November 14 by Circuit Judge Cheryl Thomas.

On November 19, 2015, Justin J. Downing, was the conductor on a CSX freight train scheduled for Jacksonville when a tractor-trailer carrying new automobiles and driven by Santiago-Ramos of Lakeland entered the rail crossing. As Santiago approached the crossing, the oncoming train of five locomotives and 34 rail cars, sounded its whistle with headlights on. As the engineer activated the emergency brakes, Downing bent down on the cab floor to save his head from flying objects, and the impact jerked and twisted his body; Downing also struck his head. Initially, he suffered from back strain and head contusion, but later he suffered chronic back pain. Eventually unable to bear the pain, he quit his job after three weeks of joining again.

Downing filed a lawsuit against Santiago-Ramos and his employer, Hansen & Adkins Auto Transport on March 8, 2016, alleging negligent conduct and liability for the accident. In 2017, he was implanted with a spinal cord stimulator device to treat his back pain, but the device was removed due to a serious sepsis infection.

Ahead of the trial, the court granted a summary judgment considering Santiago-Ramos and his employer, 100% liable after he admitted driving without heed and ignoring the approach of the train and violating the company policy by talking on his cell during the drive.

Monday, Nov 19, 2018

On November 16, Moniteau County Judge Kenneth Hayden approved a wrongful death settlement in a lawsuit filed by the family of an August 2016 car crash victim.  

According to the reports from Missouri Highway Patrol, Joshua F. Blankenship (29) was driving westbound on U.S. 50, east of the Business 50 West junction, when he cut across the center line and hit Graden Lovelace's car. After the collision, both the cars caught fire, and Lovelace was found dead at the scene. Blankenship, who was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the incident was taken to University Hospital with severe injuries.

Lovelace's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Blankenship in February in Moniteau County. Judge Hayden approved a $100,000 settlement amount asked by the family of the deceased 20-year-old girl. The settlement amount was evenly split between Lovelace’s parents, Shonda Boyer and James Lovelace. Blankenship denied being negligent for the accident.

In another civil suit linked to the same accident, Judge Hayden approved a motion to dismiss punitive damages against two bars, Spectators and The Mission located on East High Street in Jefferson City. Shonda Boyer was included as a party in the lawsuit against the bars. The request for actual damages of at least $ 25,000 from each business will continue. Lovelace’s lawsuit claimed Blankenship was already intoxicated before consuming more alcohol at both the bars.

The Dram Shop Act allows victims to sue establishment serving alcohol to already drunk visitors. However, lawyers representing the Mission asserted the law does not provide punitive damages recovery; hence, it must be dismissed from the lawsuit. In their court records, the lawyers told furnishing alcohol is not the prime reason for the unfortunate accident; it was utter negligence of Joshua Blankenship which led to the accident. A new hearing date for the civil case has not been issued yet.

Thursday, Nov 15, 2018

According to a November 7 notice to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, three companies agreed to pay $24.1 million to compensate plaintiff Leon Oates, a construction worker, who became "infant-like" after suffering a brain injury at the construction of the Conshohocken Rowing Center.

The plaintiffs' counsel stated the settlement involved $16 million insurance policy by C. Raymond Davis & Sons Inc., $6 million policy by subcontractor Budget Maintenance, and a $2.1 million by Accelerated Fire Protection, another subcontractor involved in the project. Then 41, Oates, whose job involved caulking, came under a drop ceiling tile and fell about 15 feet followed by another 15 feet fall down a concrete staircase. Court papers filed by his family stated the disaster left him in a semi-conscious state, leaving him unable to walk, communicate, or take care of himself. In his pretrial memo, Oates mentioned neither C. Raymond Davis nor Budget Maintenance made any safety accommodations like scaffolding.

Thursday, Nov 15, 2018

A Hartford jury returned with a verdict of $1.85 million in favor of plaintiff Richard Vichas who progressively fell ill due to severe lead-paint poisoning after painting the exterior of a house. The lawsuit names the owner of the house Timothy Heckman and T&T Complete Landscaping the then employer of Vichas as the defendants who assured Vichas the house was lead-free when he took the job of painting it.

According to the complaint, Vichas was diagnosed with severe lead-paint poisoning as a result of the exposure to airborne lead in 2013 when he worked at least three days a week for seven months at Heckman's. The defense tried to put the blame on Vichas stating he “failed to exercise due care while sanding and painting the defendant’s house as a reasonable painter with specialized training would be expected to do.”

The verdict came in on November 8 in Hartford Superior Court following a seven-day trial.

Thursday, Nov 8, 2018

On October 3, 2018, the Philadelphia County jury for the Court of Common Pleas returned an $11.7 million verdict against Silvi Concrete Products in a lawsuit involving an accident caused due to a retread tire on the company's truck. The decision was made for the compensatory damages and other interest.

Plaintiff Shanika Lakiya Brown's lawsuit against the company stated, a Bridgestone L315 tire on the Silvi truck retreaded by McCarthy Tire using Bridgestone Bandag technology was faulty and led to the accident in which the plaintiff’s arm got severely hurt and cost her infant daughter her leg. Silvi was the sole defendant remaining to settle in Brown's case. Kyle Farrar who represented Brown in court stated,  other defendants named in Brown’s case namely Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, Bridgestone Bandag and McCarthy Tire Service had all settled once the appellate issues were resolved in the plaintiffs' favor at the start of the trial. Bridgestone clarified that it agreed for a confidential settlement to avoid facing an eight-week trial and stated, "The tire line at issue has an exemplary track record. In fact, this was the first and only claim involving a Bridgestone L315 truck tire". The tire maker asserted the tire is in service for more than seven years and has operated safely under severe conditions. Silvi settled punitive damages in a confidential out-of-court settlement.



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