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Home / Verdicts & Settlements / Driver crushed when tractor-trailer tried illegal U-turn — $4.25 million settlement

Driver crushed when tractor-trailer tried illegal U-turn — $4.25 million settlement

Type of action: Personal injury

Injuries alleged: Complex leg fractures, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury

Name of judge or mediator: Hon. (ret.) J. Michael Gamble

Date resolved: 10/19/2020

Verdict or settlement: Settlement

Amount: $4,250,000

Attorney(s) for plaintiff (and city): Matthew W. Broughton, Andrew D. Finnicum and Andrew M. Bowman, Roanoke

Description of Case: The plaintiff was traveling at night in a small sedan, on a four-lane divided highway when he saw a tractor-trailer traveling at a reduced speed up ahead in the right lane. The plaintiff merged into the left lane and began to pass the tractor-trailer. As his vehicle reached the point between the tractor and the trailer, the truck driver suddenly, and without warning, turned the truck and made a hard left turn. His purpose, later found out in discovery, was to knowingly execute an illegal U-turn through the unauthorized section of road between the divided highway. He made this turn from the right lane, across the left lane, where he collided with the plaintiff’s vehicle, crushing the vehicle and dragging him into the unauthorized area.

The plaintiff’s windows burst out, his door was jammed, and he was so badly injured he was not able to free himself from the vehicle. Because of the extensive damage, smell of fuel, and his inability to get himself out of the vehicle, the plaintiff believed he was about to die either from his injuries or a fire.

The plaintiff was extricated from the vehicle by EMTs, placed in an ambulance and taken to a level I trauma center. He was ultimately diagnosed with severely fractured legs, for which he had multiple surgeries. In addition he suffered impact to his head on both the front and back, resulting in the near amputation of one of his ears and a mild traumatic brain injury. The brain injury led to extensive treatment for depression, amotivation, perseveration and mild cognitive deficit. The plaintiff continued to struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, but continues to make significant progress in his daily life.

Fortunately, the plaintiff’s family reached out to counsel early, which enabled the preservation of important evidence.