A woman who suffered severe injuries caused by an early-morning crash with a concrete truck has agreed to a $1 million settlement with the driver and the company he worked for, the woman’s attorneys report.
Elizabeth Grimes of the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo in Charlotte said that her client suffered severe abdominal injuries which left her scarred, in pain, and incontinent, all due to the negligence of the truck’s driver, who she said had a history of bad driving.
Grimes said the incident happened at 4:45 a.m. as her client was driving to get breakfast at a fast-food restaurant in Morganton. She said the truck hit her client’s vehicle from behind, causing it to spin clockwise before flipping over the guardrail. Photos from the scene suggest a high-speed impact.
“Plaintiff’s vehicle was forced over the guardrail, traveling down a steep embankment … striking several trees before overturning,” Grimes said in an email. “The Defendant claimed that Plaintiff was traveling at an abnormally slow speed and he attempted to swerve left but could not avoid colliding.”
After the collision, Grimes said the truck driver ran down the embankment, kicked in the windshield, and pulled her client from the upside-down vehicle to render aid. Meanwhile, a bystander summoned emergency personnel.
The truck driver was cited by police for careless and reckless driving, but the charges were later dismissed. Grimes said that the driver’s employer, which was a small, family-run business, knew about his poor driving record, but overlooked it when hiring him.
The plaintiff alleged gross and reckless conduct, driver fatigue, improper vetting of the driver’s background, and general negligence. The defendants alleged that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent.
Because of the crash, the plaintiff required multiple surgeries to remove sections of her colon and small intestines. She also suffered multiple spine fractures, finger fractures, a wrist fracture, cervical whiplash, and severe scarring. The latter was caused in part by a degloving injury, which occurs when an extended section of skin is completely torn off from the tissue underneath.
The plaintiff says that although the fractures have all healed, she still experiences daily pain and suffers from incontinence that requires her to use disposable underwear, Grimes said.
Prior to settlement, the defense argued that the court should consider several mitigating factors, including the plaintiff’s existing history of suffering from fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, her lack of need for future medical treatment, and their client’s remorse over what happened.
The names of the defendants and defense attorneys were withheld pursuant to a confidentiality agreement.
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SETTLEMENT REPORT—PERSONAL INJURY
Amount: $1 million
Court: Burke County Superior Court
Injuries alleged: Fractures to the vertebrae, fingers and wrist; abdominal injuries; lacerations; cervical whiplash, and other injuries
Date of settlement: Aug. 27
Special Damages: $119,082 in medical expenses
Most helpful experts: David Dorrity of Dorrity Safety Consulting in Greenville, South Carolina, and MediVisuals, Inc. of Richmond, Virginia (medical illustration exhibits)
Attorneys for plaintiff: Elizabeth Grimes and Michael DeMayo of the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo in Charlotte
Attorneys for defendant: Confidential