Articles Posted in Permanent Disability

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We all know commercial trucks, including include 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and dump trucks, are some of the largest vehicles on the road today. But did you know they can weigh 60,000 – 70,000 pounds more than the average sedan?

Those who are involved in accidents with big rigs and large commercial trucks typically bear the brunt of the impact. Consequently, injuries suffered in a truck accident can be more severe than those suffered in a car accident. Some of the most common injuries suffered in truck accidents involve the neck and back, ranging in severity from whiplash to paralysis. Many truck accident victims who suffer neck and back injuries require extensive medical treatment as part of the recovery process. Sometimes, permanent disability may result.

Anatomy of the Human Spine

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School bus accidents can present lots of problems. For starters, buses are much bigger than the cars and SUVs that most people drive on the road. Thus, when a collision occurs, the smaller car can sustain heavy damage. More disastrous is when the school bus is full of children or students. This could lead to a situation where many people are injured as a result of the crash, including severe injuries.

One such crash occurred in California when a school bus driver passed out at the wheel. The bus then veered off the road and smashed head-on into a tree. The lawsuit alleged that the driver suffered from pulmonary hypertension which can cause him to lose consciousness if his blood pressure increases beyond a certain point. The lawsuit further claimed that the school district did not inquire into his medical history before hiring him. Allegedly, three months before the crash, the school district received a call from a fellow employee, who advised that the defendant driver was consistently behaving oddly. The school district required him to submit a drug test, but halted the investigation after the test returned negative. Five lawsuits were filed. One student suffered a broken clavicle while another sustained a traumatic brain injury. The lawsuits were consolidated, and the district settled for $10 million.

This case is a perfect example of why the law allows recovery under the theory of respondeat superior. Respondeat superior is Latin for “let the master answer.” It is a theory of law that holds an employer vicariously liable for the negligent acts of an employee, so long as the employee was operating within the scope of his employment at the time. Applying this legal principle to the case mentioned above, Orange County Unified School District will be held liable for the acts of its driver, so long as Rupple was operating within the scope of his employment.

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Almost eight years after a devastating and life-altering bus accident, an injured victim was awarded a verdict of $28 million as compensation for her permanent injuries. The victim was just 16 years old when her life changed forever. She and two of her friends were traveling in a car in Coleraine, Minnesota when a school bus T-boned their vehicle, dragging the victim and her friends nearly 100 yards before stopping. The bus was operated by Jay Poshak, an employee of the Ely School District at the time of the accident.

The crash rendered the victim quadriplegic and killed the other passenger. Following trial, the Itasca County, Minnesota, jury returned a verdict of over $28 million in favor of the quadriplegic victim. Fault was apportioned between two drivers: the school bus driver was found to be 10% responsible while the rest of the fault was placed on the victim’s driver, who was just a teenager. Following the bus accident, the State Patrol reconstructed the accident and found that both drivers did not pay enough attention to the road.

According to reports, the large jury verdict is rare for the greater Minnesota area, which is a typically conservative location and not known for handing down big verdicts. However, in this case, the award reflects the damages. The victim was only 16 years old when she lost the use of her arms and legs. The $28 million is meant to compensate for past and future medical expenses, past and future pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, emotional distress, and loss of potential earnings.

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A Mississippi trucking company has been ordered to pay $15 million in damages to a survivor of a devastating multi-car pileup that occurred nearly two years ago. Megan Richards, a nursing student at Georgia Southern University, was one of only two survivors of a trucking accident on Interstate 16 in Georgia that claimed the lives of five other women, also nursing students. Richards and the others were traveling to a hospital in Savannah for their last day of clinical rotations at the time of the accident.

According to reports, Richards and the others were stopped behind an unrelated wreck on Interstate 16 when a tractor trailer driven by John Wayne Johnson smashed into their vehicles. The crash totaled the vehicles in which the nursing students were traveling, killing five of the women on impact. Richards and another woman were the only survivors of the truck accident and were immediately transferred to a nearby hospital. Despite escaping alive, Richards suffered a traumatic brain injury.

At the time of the accident, John Wayne Johnson of Shreveport, Louisiana was employed by Total Transportation, a trucking company located in Richland, Mississippi. Prior to working for Total Transportation, Johnson had driven trucks commercially for another company but was fired for falling asleep at the wheel. Discovery revealed that Total Transportation was aware of this blemish on Johnson’s record but hired him anyway. Although Johnson pled guilty to five counts of first-degree vehicular homicide, he maintained that he was wide awake at the time of the crash.

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Long haul commercial truck driving can be one of the deadliest professions in America. Over 250,000 accidents each year are attributed to commercial trucking, with roughly 5,000 of those accidents resulting in fatalities. One of the biggest contributing factors to the deadly nature of commercial trucking is the poor health of truck drivers.

Commercial trucking is a demanding profession, requiring countless hours on the road. It is not uncommon for truck drivers to haul loads over multiple state lines on a single crossing, often going hours without sleep or proper nutrition. Medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and back pain are all common ailments in truck drivers and have also been linked to poor driving performance. Further, high blood pressure and fatigue, two top indicators of poor health in truckers, can be attributed to poor diet and lack of sleep. Factors such as stress, heavy lifting, long hours, and lack of exercise are all characteristics of commercial trucking and contribute greatly to poor health conditions.

To offset the effects of sleeplessness, many truck drivers turn to stimulants like amphetamines. Amphetamines can be used to stave off fatigue, allowing some truck drivers to drive longer without rest. Along with producing dangerous driving conditions in general, these drugs can also contribute to major health risks such as vertigo and hallucinations. Stimulants also change the driver’s perceptions and ability to react to emergency driving situations, including inclement weather. It should thus come as no surprise that over 35% of truck drivers who die in an accident test positive for an illegal drug.

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Recently, a tragic bus accident occurred in Newark, New Jersey. Two passenger buses operated by the New Jersey Transit Authority collided with each other while traveling through a busy intersection. Several people were seriously and permanently injured and two people lost their lives.

Sadly, unfortunate accidents like this happen far too often and they leave the individuals and families involved wondering how they will ever be able to get their lives back together.  Attorneys representing 14 of the victims of the accident and their families have reported that they intend to seek at least $115 million in compensation for the permanent injuries suffered by their clients in the crash.

Whenever a person is involved in a car or truck accident through no fault of their own, they can recover compensatory damages for losses caused by the accident. The purpose of these damages is to reimburse the victims for all of the losses that occurred as a result of the accident. The ultimate goal of the law is to put the plaintiff in as good a situation as they were in before their life was disrupted by the injury. When the injury that is suffered is catastrophic in nature, the victim may never be able to physically and emotionally recover completely from the wreck.

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Most people in Mississippi know if they are injured as a result of another’s actions, they may receive some type of recovery or damages for their losses.  What the injured party may not fully understand is what exactly the recovery entails.

Some of the most known types of recovery for injury cases are pain and suffering and loss enjoyment of life.  This compensates a person for the physical and emotional injuries sustained due to someone else’s negligence.  The most obvious is for physical injuries that are seen and documented by healthcare providers such as strains/sprains, abrasions, or bruises/contusions.  However, due to the size and weight of commercial trucks, injuries are frequently catastrophic. More serious injuries include broken bones, paralysis, lacerations resulting in permanent scars, or injuries requiring surgical intervention.  Traumatic injuries are more likely to occur when a truck driver is going too fast or not paying attention to his or her surroundings.

An injured person may also receive pain and suffering for emotional injuries such as anxiety, depression or emotional stress.  Just as with physical injuries, the injured person must have these conditions evaluated and documented by a healthcare provider.

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Car versus bicycle accidents are often some of the most dangerous motor vehicle accidents out there. Even when a bicyclist wears proper safety gear, such as a helmet and pads, nearly all of his or her body is left exposed. When hit by a moving car or truck, the trauma from that impact can cause permanent and catastrophic results, even if the car is only traveling a few miles per hour. This type of accident happened in 2012 in Seattle, Washington. In December 2016, the case went to trial, and the jury awarded $38 million in damages.

In this wreck, the victim, 51 years old, was riding a bicycle in a marked bicycle lane down a one-way street. He was going home from work when a valet driver cut across two lanes in the middle of the street and struck the bicyclist from the side. The valet driver received a citation for failure to yield the right of way. As a result of the crash, the victim sustained a traumatic brain injury and a broken hip, among other injuries, requiring extensive medical treatment. He incurred over $427,000 of medical bills and is expected to need multiple surgeries in the future. Due to the broken hip, his mobility has been significantly limited. For example, he must use crutches to even be able to walk short distances.

This lawsuit brought claims against the valet driver and his employer, Standard Parking, which is part of a national publicly traded company that manages parking garages and provides valet car service. When the accident occurred, the valet driver was in the process of returning a car to a customer at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.  The claims asserted against the company include unsafe practices and inadequate training. Testimony throughout the case revealed the valet driver (like many of the other company drivers) had cut through a parking lot, drove through an alley, and then drove across the middle of the street to take cars to and from the vehicle owners at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. According to the victim’s attorneys, the driver took an illegal shortcut to save time while he should have driven around the block through normal traffic to be safe, regardless of how much more time it would have taken.

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