$675,000 Settlement of Traumatic Brain Injury in SUV vs. Tractor Tanker Wreck

This case involves an SUV versus tractor tanker accident that occurred in Chester City, PA.

Our Client, then 22 years old, suffered facial lacerations, orthopedic injuries including a fractured scaphoid requiring surgical repair, but most significantly, a permanent traumatic brain injury.

Our client was operating his 2012 Ford Escape eastbound on Route 291 in the right lane of travel.   Route 291 is 2 lanes eastbound and 2 lanes westbound.  The Defendant was driving a tractor pulling a tractor-tanker northbound on Lamokin St. intending to turn left onto westbound 291.  Lamokin St. is controlled by a stop sign.  There is no traffic control device for traffic on 291 proceeding through the intersection with Lamokin St.  Plaintiff moved from the right lane into the left lane due to a second tractor trailer stopped in the right lane near Lamokin St.  Meanwhile the tractor tanker pulled from the stop sign and through the left lane of eastbound 291.  Our client’s SUV collided with the driver’s side of the back end tractor tanker the front of which had, by the time the collision occurred, entered the far right westbound lane.

Baratta, Russell & Baratta (BRB) attempted to prove through accident reconstruction and human factors experts that our client’s view of Defendant’s tractor tanker was obstructed by the stopped tractor trailer and our client could not have seen the defendant’s tractor tanker in time to avoid the collision. Our client was knocked unconscious in the wreck and did not remember it. Both truck drivers claimed he was speeding.

The Defendant tanker driver argued that his view of the eastbound lanes was completely blocked by the stopped tractor trailer. BRB’s accident reconstruction and human factors experts agreed that the view was obstructed, but only for a limited time and space.  According to  BRB’s reconstruction expert, the Defendant should have been able to see the right lane behind the stopped tractor trailer and should have seen the approach of our client’s vehicle such that he should have known that our client’s vehicle was too close to proceed into the intersection.

Since our client had fully recovered from both the facial lacerations, without scarring, and the scaphoid fracture, the damages issue was the cause and extent of our client’s brain injury. There was no radiologic evidence of brain trauma. Our client endured loss of consciousness and amnesia from the events of the accident.  Our client alleged he continued to suffer headaches, memory loss, impatience, frustration, anger, and disequilibrium.  He was evaluated by neuropsychology and treated by physiatry at the Moss Drucker Brain Injury Center.  The causation analysis was complicated by several factors.  Our client had been diagnosed with ADHD, had been taking anti-anxiety medication and had suffered a skull fracture with loss of consciousness two years before the wreck.  In addition, our client had suffered a fall three weeks before the auto wreck in which he suffered a concussion from which he was not yet recovered (still suffering headaches and dizziness and had been referred to neurology). BRB argued through the experts at Moss Drucker Brain Injury Center that since our client’s brain had not healed from that injury at the time of the crash, the consequences of the crash injury were much worse than they might otherwise have been. Further complicating causation issues was the fact that our client was involved in a one car accident 7 months after the wreck in which he banged his head but claimed to suffer no additional injury.

Result: The case settled for $675,000

Attorney: Anthony J. Baratta of Baratta, Russell & Baratta

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