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Defective Concrete Mixer Nearly Kills Man After Brakes Fail, Resulting in Favorable Settlement

A concrete mixer manufacturer engineered its vehicles with a dangerous defect: the trucks’ parking brakes disengaged when its concrete-mixing drums were empty and its tag axles – a deployable third axle that stabilizes a vehicle’s heavy load – were used. This design flaw resulted in devastating injuries to Dustin Boswell, a blue-collar cement worker who owned one of the trucks. To illustrate the trucks’ dangers and obtain compensation for Dustin’s damages, Luke Abel and Matt Wade of the Abel Law Firm used animations to explain how the truck’s mechanics nearly killed their client.

After pouring cement in a residential neighborhood, Dustin parked the truck on a slightly downward-sloping street, one where a properly functioning brake would have sufficed. He stood on the tag axle to clean the drum’s exterior. Unexpectedly, the truck began rolling downhill. He jumped off but lost balance, falling directly into the truck’s path. The large tires caught his shirt and then rolled onto his stomach and torso. Pinned under the tag axle, the truck dragged him nearly 25 feet across the hot, jagged asphalt, inflicting life-altering injuries.

Paramedics rushed Dustin to a nearby emergency room. He suffered collapsed lungs, gruesome lacerations, and orthopedic fractures blanketing his body. He remained in the hospital for a month before he and his family sought redress for his debilitating injuries. They found Luke Abel and Matt Wade of the Abel Law Firm. After reviewing Dustin’s medical records, they realized the severity of Dustin’s injuries and how he would require a lifetime of medical care.

After thorough research, Luke and Matt discovered how the trucks’ hydraulic tag axles were dysfunctional. To help explain the trucks’ dangers, they retained several engineers to assess the vehicles and testify how they were improperly manufactured. The engineers confirmed there were no warnings within the operating manual that acknowledged the defect.

As Luke and Matt prepped for trial, they anticipated that a jury might have trouble wrapping their heads around how Dustin’s injuries resulted from the manufacturer’s mistakes, as opposed to user error. Thus, they brought DK Global and their engineers together to create an animation that outlined the trucks’ flaws, how Dustin was injured, and his resulting damages.

The animation began by explaining the trucks’ mechanics. When the tag axles were deployed with an empty cement tank, the mechanism lifted the trucks’ rear wheels off the ground and neutralized the only parking brake. Then, Dustin’s accident was animated, showing the truck moving downhill as he cleaned the drum. He lost his footing, fell into the truck’s path, and was dragged across the asphalt under its massive weight. Finally, an overview of Dustin’s injuries that were caused from the truck’s defective design illustrated their severity and framed damages.

Luke and Matt shared the animation with the opposing counsel at mediation and clearly outlined the trucks’ defects. After visualizing the trucks’ mechanism of failure and Dustin's injuries, the Defense offered to settle the case for a confidential amount.

Luke Abel received an “AV rating” by Martindale-Hubbell, a peer-given review awarded to attorneys ranked at the highest level of professional excellence. He has continuously been recognized as a “Rising Star” and “Super Lawyer.” Since joining Abel Law Firm in 2006, Luke has represented the victims of catastrophic injuries, medical malpractice, and product liability. He was named one of the “Top 100 Attorneys” by The National Trial Lawyers.

With his previous experience and knowledge as a defense attorney for a large insurance carrier, Matthew Wade represents the survivors of personal injury, product liability, and nursing home negligence. Since joining Abel Law Firm in 2014, Matt has assisted in attaining numerous multi-million-dollar results for their clients. In 2021, Matt was recognized as a “Super Lawyer.”

"DK Global's presentation not only helped us in mediation, I think it gave some information to the other side that allowed them to see that not only did we understand what happened, we understood the engineering aspect of this, the technical aspect of it."
Matthew Wade - Abel Law Firm
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