Derryberry Zips Wade Lawhorn, PLLC successfully negotiated a substantial confidential settlement in the high six figures for our female client who was involved in a violent rear end wreck with a large oil field service truck in Corpus Christi, Texas. The oil field service company hired a 23 year old employee and allowed him to permissively operate a company truck without performing any background check on him or providing him any driver training. A simple check of his driving record would have revealed a prior conviction for driving while intoxicated less than two (2) years prior to the company hiring him. The young employee violently slammed into the back of our client’s vehicle as a result of being distracted while driving the truck. Additionally, his cell phone records contained information indicating he was likely on the phone at the time of the violent wreck. This violent wreck caused our client to sustain significant injuries and and also resulted in her vehicle being declared a total loss. Our client sustained injuries, including a broken arm, injuries to her thighs, mild traumatic brain injury and herniated disks in her neck for which her treating neurosurgeon recommended surgery. She had not had the surgery at the time the case was resolved in July, 2015.
Our client, age 52, and employed as an inventory specialist, was turning into her employer’s parking lot from a two-lane road in Tyler, Texas. Austin Gray, in a Ford F-350 pickup, attempted to pass her on the right, and the vehicles collided. Our client was in a mid-size sedan. Gray was in the course and scope of his employment with LCR-M, L.P. He received a ticket for passing unsafely on the right and did not contest the ticket.
Our client sued Gray for passing unsafely on the right and causing the wreck. She also sued LCR-M under respondeat superior. Our client testified that Gray actually entered the parking lot to pass her on the right and that the impact occurred in the parking lot. Gray and LCR-M contended that our client was stopped in the middle of the road without her turn signal on and that the wreck occurred on the road.
Our client went to the ER later the night of the wreck and again the next morning. She sustained an internal disc disruption at L4-5. She tried physical therapy, but testified it did not provide her any relief from the constant pain. She underwent pain management with injections and then, on 4/16/13, an anterior lumbar fusion and posterolateral lumbar fusion at L3-4 and L4-5 was performed on her.
Our client’s paid medical bills were about $90,000. She also claimed past and future loss of household services, past and future loss of earning capacity, past and future disfigurement, past and future physical impairment, and past and future physical pain and mental anguish.
Our client had been working full time and making $13 an hour. The Social Security Administration declared plaintiff completely disabled as a result of the injuries she sustained in the wreck.
The Defendants contended that the impact was minor and that our client’s back injury could not have been caused by the wreck because the vehicle photos showed little damage to either vehicle.
The Defendants also contended that our client’s lower back problems were related to injuries she sustained in a rollover wreck around 1989. In that wreck, our client sustained compression fractures at L3 and L4, and the Defendants argued that this prior injury necessitated her surgery, not this wreck.
The Defendants further argued that our client’s earnings history was insufficient to support her claim for future lost earning capacity. And, the Defendants disputed our client’s need for any future surgery or other future medical treatment.
Finally, the Defendants note that our client’s workers’ compensation carrier determined that our client’s lower back injury was a preexisting injury related to the 1989 rollover and not related to this wreck. Despite this contention, our firm was able to negotiate a $400,000 settlement of this case for our client at mediation as reported by Verdict Search.