$5M Verdict & Punitive Damages Awarded for Tragic Loss in Big Rig Collision

Panish Shea & Boyle Demonstrate Driver's Negligence with Reconstruction Animation

In Phoenix, Arizona, the driver of a tractor-trailer rear-ended a line of cars at full speed, killing a young man and severely injuring the man's wife. Blackbox electronic data from the tractor-trailer showed that the driver didn't even try to brake from 28 seconds before impact, until 10 seconds after the initial collision. The truck driver eventually admitted that he had fallen asleep at the wheel, and that he had taken a muscle relaxer the night before the incident, leaving him drowsy and impaired while driving his route. However, the blame didn't lie solely on the driver; his employer also played a part in this tragic accident, as their policy was to pay their drivers based on the deliveries they completed, rather than hourly - which caused many drivers to neglect their health and their sleep by skipping breaks in an attempt to complete more deliveries. 

Using data taken from the collision, attorneys Adam Shea and Ryan Casey of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP partnered with DK Global to put together a reconstruction animation that would how show the awful accident unfolded, to aid in the pursuit of justice for the parents of the decedent.

Proving Liability and Negligence with Crash Reconstruction Animations

The defendants admitted responsibility for causing the collision early in the case, but disputed the fact that punitive damages were warranted. The biggest obstacle to gaining punitive damages was the fact that the police investigating the scene did not draw the truck driver's blood until approximately founr and a half hours later, after they had obtained a search warrant. When a blood sample was finally tested, it was negative for the presence of the muscle relaxer. As a result, the defense said that the driver was never under the influence, and had simply fallen asleep while driving. DK Global was able to assist with this issue by working with a crash reconstruction expert to verify that the animation accurately portrayed the driver's failure to take any sort of evasive action before and after the initial collision, and to show that the driver had ample time to react.

Because of the data shown in the presentation, the jury was able to comprehend the driver’s negligence and deliver a compensatory $5 Million verdict in favor of the victim’s parents, and warrant punitive damages against the driver and his company.

Panish Shea & Boyle LLP founding partner, Adam Shea, is a nationally recognized trial lawyer with extensive experience and success representing individuals and families in catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases across Southern California. Mr. Shea has a proven track record of helping those who have been harmed by negligence, wrongful conduct, violations of safety rules, and defective products – including automotive and tire product defects. He has achieved over 200 settlements and multi-million dollar jury verdicts

Ryan Casey is a trial attorney at Panish Shea & Boyle LLP, focusing his practice on litigating large and complex personal injuries, wrongful death, and product defect cases on behalf of injured individuals and consumers in Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. Since joining the firm, Mr. Casey has handled complex factual cases involving trucking collisions, auto collisions, construction site injuries, industrial injuries, recreational sporting injuries, and multiple cases from various defective products. In these cases, Mr. Casey has obtained favorable results through trial or settlement, and successfully recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for his clients in lawsuits against negligent individuals, public entities, and corporations.

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"We believe that bringing DK Global in to assist us during trial, and preparing the animation, ultimately helped us to get a very positive result."

Ryan Casey, Panish Shea & Boyle LLP

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