Interstate wrongful death suit nets massive settlement

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The largest personal injury settlement in the history of the state of Pennsylvania was reached in early June in connection with a 2010 wrongful death incident. A man was killed by a truck that was hauling goods for a cheese products company. The vehicle in which he was riding was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer rig in July 2010.

The settlement reached by the company brings compensation totals to about $26.1 million, according to legal documents. The suit had been filed by the man’s wife.

The incident happened at around 5 p.m. on July 6, 2010 on Interstate 80. A woman was driving her father and another relative when her 2004 Toyota Matrix was rear-ended by the semi-truck. The woman’s father was killed instantly in the collision, and the two other occupants of the vehicle suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of the crash. Also killed in the tragic crash were the family’s dogs.

The man who survived the crash sustained severe brain injuries that have altered his cognitive and emotional status, according to the suit. He is permanently brain damaged and also has physical problems that resulted from the injury. Further, the woman sustained injuries to her liver, vertebral fractures and other trauma.

The driver had been accused of driving at a high rate of speed when he lost control of the rig and plowed into the back of the smaller vehicle. He had been driving recklessly, alleged the complaint, which led to the older man’s death. The driver had said that the glare from the sun got in his eyes while he was driving, which blinded him from seeing the cars in front of his truck. This assertion was up for some debate, however, because the vehicles had been traveling eastbound, and the sun sets in the west.

The suit indicated that the tractor-trailer driver may have been asleep or in a compromised state of alertness before the accident, which likely contributed to the deadly wreck.

Source: Penn Record, “$26.1 million personal injury settlement, possibly largest ever in Pa., reached in tractor-trailer death suit,” Jon Campisi, June 13, 2012