$950,000 SETTLEMENT – BIG RIG TRUCK RUNS RED LIGHT CAUSING INTERSECTION COLLISION
On October 26, 2011 at 5:44 a.m. our client, a 29 year old laborer, was driving a 1993 Toyota Corolla that was stopped at the intersection traffic signal on Maritime Street. A 1998 Freightliner tractor pulling a 32 foot long trailer with a container was proceeding westbound on 7th Street in Oakland, California. The Freightliner truck driver testified that the traffic signal was green for him when he entered the intersection. Immediately to the left of our client’s vehicle were two semi tractors that started into the intersection with him as the traffic signal turned green for them. The truck drivers next to plaintiff saw the Freightliner big rig coming from their left and were able to stop before entering the intersection. Plaintiff was in a small car and his vision to his left was blocked by the two trucks, so he could not see the defendant truck driver speeding into the intersection. The tractor trailer struck the Toyota Corolla at the driver’s door and pushed the car through the intersection, causing severe injuries to our client. The driver of the tractor to the left of our client was an eye witness to the collision and told the investigating Oakland police officer that the Freightliner big rig entered the intersection against a red light. We contended that the defendant truck driver negligently entered the intersection against a red light at a fast speed of 45 to 50 miles per hour. Our accident reconstruction expert prepared a time and distance reconstruction based on the independent witnesses’ testimony of the speed and location of the defendant truck driver. He found that the truck driver increased his speed as he approached the intersection and could not have possibly entered the intersection on a green or yellow traffic signal. The traffic signal had been red for several seconds for defendant’s direction of travel before he entered the intersection. The 69,540 pound tractor and trailer struck the plaintiff’s Toyota at the driver’s door, causing a two foot intrusion into the driver’s side. Because of the impact plaintiff had a loss of consciousness and had no memory of the accident. Our client received significant injuries including left shoulder separation and a fracture of the left tibia plateau. He originally injured his left hip in a 2005 accident requiring surgery and a screw from the previous hip surgery became lodged in the joint and was the source of pain after this accident. On April 2, 2012 he was admitted to the hospital for hardware removal from his left hip from the previous injury. He later was admitted to Highland Hospital and underwent a total hip replacement The insurance company doctor concluded that the prior severe hip injury in 2005 caused premature destruction of the articular cartilage with osteophyte formation. He stated the total hip replacement was caused by the prior 2005 injury. We contended that he had no limitation in his daily life and had no problems with his left hip before the severe intersection collision. The income loss was challenged because our client did not have a documented prior wage loss as a laborer. We contended that he was working at the time of the accident as a temporary laborer but had been told he would become a full time fork lift operator. The case settled for $950,000 on the eve of trial.