This case involved a collision between a tractor-trailer and a passenger car. The vehicles were traveling in opposite directions on a curved two-lane road separated by double yellow lines.
Liability was hotly contested. Each driver contended that the other crossed the double yellow lines and caused the collision.
The crash occurred on a curve. Defendants’ tractor-trailer was completing the curve, and plaintiff’s oncoming car was just entering it. The tractor-trailer was on the outside of the curve; the car was on the inside. The vehicles did not collide head-on. Instead, the car collided with the left rear tires of the tractor.
The tractor had an operating dashcam with two cameras. One camera was aimed straight ahead on the roadway. Because the location of the impact was behind the front of the tractor, the dashcam did not capture the position of the car at the final instant before impact. Defendants preserved a portion of the dashcam’s recorded video. That video supported the defendants’ version of events, as the video appeared to indicate that the car was heading across the double yellow line and toward the tractor-trailer’s lane just before the impact. Plaintiff contended that defendants had improperly spoliated portions of the video before and after the portion that was preserved.
The second camera was aimed at the interior of the tractor. The recorded video showed that the driver was steering with one hand in violation of his safety training. It also showed the driver was driving without wearing eyeglasses, which the driver was legally required to wear when driving.
Defendants contended that the electronic data from both vehicles supported their case.
Defendants claimed that that the car’s electronic data showed that plaintiff drove much faster than the yellow maximum safe speed sign leading into the curve, that plaintiff actually accelerated after passing that maximum safe speed sign, and that plaintiff steered the car straight into the tractor’s rear tires as the car entered the curve.
Defendants claimed that the tractor-trailer’s electronic data showed that the tractor-trailer was driving well below the speed limit and also below the yellow maximum safe speed sign leading into the curve.
The driver of another vehicle testified in a deposition that he could not see where the tractor’s left-side tires were, but he was able to see that the trailer’s left rear tires were across the double yellow lines at the time of the crash. This witness’s credibility was subject to challenge because the same witness also testified that the tractor-trailer driver was driving much faster than the speed limit. This was in direct conflict with the tractor’s electronic data.
Asphalt scraped off the roadway was found on the underside of plaintiff’s car after the wreck. The asphalt was embedded with yellow paint. The yellow paint and asphalt matched up to a scar on the yellow line on the tractor-trailer’s side of the road. The asphalt on the underside of the car was more than two feet from the left edge of the car. Defendants argued that this proved that the car had crossed the double yellow line by at least two feet. Plaintiff argued that there was no way to know whether or not this asphalt became attached to the underside of the car when the initial impact occurred or, instead, after the impact when the car was spinning out of control.[18-T-151]
Type of action: Personal injury
Injuries alleged: Extensive physical injuries, primarily orthopedic
Tried before: Mediation
Name of judge or mediator: Hon. Pamela S. Baskervill (Ret.)
Date resolved: Nov. 6, 2018
Special damages: More than $900,000 in medical expenses incurred
Verdict or settlement: Settlement
Attorneys for plaintiff: Edward E. Scher, Douglas A. Lines and Amy Y. S. Lines, Richmond