Note:  The names of the clients in these case summaries have been omitted in order to protect their identity.

Our client was a Mexican immigrant worker who had been in the United States for about six months.  He was working two jobs and sending money home to his family.  His car broke down on a major highway in Raleigh, North Carolina, when a bearing on his rear wheel failed.   As he was attempting to repair his rear wheel on the shoulder of the highway, a tractor-trailer was approaching from behind him.  A rear trailer tire broke loose and began bouncing down the road at approximately 55 miles per hour.  The tire struck our client in the left rear shoulder and slammed him to the pavement.  All of the nerves in his left shoulder area were severed from his spine.  He also suffered a severe injury to his left leg and a traumatic brain injury.  He was in a coma for several days and endured a lengthy rehabilitation process at a brain injury rehabilitation center.  Through discovery it was learned that the tires on the trailer had been replaced about two weeks before this incident.  Claims were brought against the trucking company and the company which had replaced the tires.  It was discovered that part of the load which was being carried by the company at the time of the incident included hazardous chemicals.  Hauling hazardous chemicals requires the driver to inspect the tractor-trailer each time it is parked.  Through the use of experts and extensive discovery, we were able to determine that the lug nuts on the wheel that flew off had been loose for some time before the studs snapped.  We were also able to prepare detailed charts that documented all of the times that the trailer wheels should have been inspected during the two weeks before the wreck. By proving that the conduct of the trucking company rose to the level of gross negligence, we were able to overcome the claims of our client’s contributory negligence.   The result of the case provided for the complete care of our client for the remainder of his life and provided regular monthly payments to his wife and children for the remainder of his life to compensate for all of his lost income.

Plaintiff Attorney:  Guy Crabtree, Esq., Pulley, Watson, King, Lischer, PA, P.O. Drawer 2600, Durham, NC  27701

Putting the Brakes on Unsafe Trucking Companies