$2,050,000 Settlement – Construction Worker’s Ankle Crushed when Run Over By Dump Truck
On March 17, 2010, our client, a construction laborer, was working alongside a paving machine, laying asphalt on Highway 1 in Mendocino County. The location was on a narrow curve between a steep bank and a deep drop to the Pacific Ocean and was being done without a K-rail barrier along the centerline, next to the live traffic lane. As our client stepped back from the paving machine, a dump truck attempting to pass ran over his foot. The CHP investigating officer blamed our client for the accident, for making an unexpected movement.
Our client was removing hardened chunks of asphalt from the paving machine with a shovel. Before he bent down to remove a chunk, he checked for traffic and saw there was none. He knew that before live traffic was released to pass the paver, the workers were to be notified. A dump truck driver, who had delivered his asphalt load and had turned around to return, was driving slowly in the traffic lane without any other vehicles. The traffic lane was very narrow and the truck driver was watching the guardrail and not the workmen. Our client had his back to the approaching truck and as he stepped out to remove an asphalt chunk, the truck ran over his foot crushing it. The loud noise made by the paving machine prevented our client from hearing the approaching truck. The truck driver told the police he saw the worker crouched down next to the paver, but lost sight of him. At his deposition, the truck driver admitted that he is required to make eye contact with highway workers before attempting to drive past them. But he changed his story after the accident to claim he had made eye contact with the worker before passing. Our cross examination of the truck driver and our accident reconstruction prepared by our expert engineers convinced the insurance company defending the truck driver that the driver had not made eye contact as he was required to do.
Our client suffered a complex crushing injury to his left foot and ankle. He underwent five surgeries over 12 days to avoid amputation, but these surgeries could not save his foot and he underwent a below the knee amputation. At a mediation shortly before the start of trial, in 2012, the case was settled for $2,050,000. In addition, our client will receive all future medical treatment at no cost to him.