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Case Type: Cargo Truck Collision – Spinal Injuries

Lawsuit Filed: Yes – Buncombe County Superior Court

Liability Issues: Sudden emergency defense and injury proximate cause

Damages Issues: Nature and extent of injuries

Summary: Defendants (a nationwide cargo delivery company, independent contractor truck owner, and truck driver) alleged that truck driver faced an unexpected sudden emergency when the truck braking system failed to function, causing the rear-end collision into the Plaintiff’s passenger vehicle which was stopped at an signaled intersection waiting to make a left-hand turn.   Pursuant to plaintiff counsel investigation, Plaintiff alleged that the truck driver and owner had prior notice that the braking system had been malfunctioning immediately prior to the collision, but that reasonable care was not used to ensure repair of the braking system before the truck was operated. Consequently, based on applicable law, Plaintiff alleged that the truck driver would not have a valid defense if the purported sudden emergency was created by the Defendants’ negligence or otherwise preventable.

The Plaintiff had a history of low-back pain (lumbago) which was aggravated by periodic, strenuous activities.  In that vein, the Defendants alleged that not all of the Plaintiff’s purported injuries were causally related to the collision events but were due to pre-existing conditions that caused prior symptoms. However, Plaintiff alleged that she sustained significant spinal trauma in the collision to her soft-tissues and vertebral joints, aggravating such pre-existing conditions but causing resultant chronic pain which necessitated implantation of a spinal cord stimulator.

In response to the subject issues, Plaintiff counsel provided the Plaintiff’s complete medical history and evidence regarding the nature and extent of the collision to her treating pain management physician, who consequently provided expert opinions that supported a causal relationship between her chronic pain and the collision trauma.

Plaintiff did not sustain any significant wage loss since her retirement essentially coincided with the collision. However, her chronic pain has affected her ability to fully engage in activities of daily living and especially her retirement travel plans.

Resolution Date: August 2016.   The claims resolved after initial formal discovery had been completed, which provided the Defendants all relevant and material information within the Plaintiff’s possession regarding the key case issues.