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Illustrating Cement Truck Defect and Subsequent Damages Results in Favorable Settlement

A cement truck manufacturer failed to design its vehicles with a reliable parking brake, causing the trucks to destabilize when their tag axle deployed. The flawed functionality caused devastating and disabling injuries to Dustin Boswell, a blue-collar cement worker in Oklahoma working with one of those trucks. To litigate the case, Dustin’s attorneys used animated demonstratives to clearly illustrate the truck’s complex, dangerous mechanics and how it led to their client’s damages.

Dustin finished pouring cement in a residential neighborhood and parked the vehicle to clean up. The street had a slight slope, one where a properly functioning brake would have kept the truck stationary. Dustin stood on the tag axle to clean out the drum when the truck unexpectedly began rolling downhill. He lost his footing and fell directly into the truck’s path. The truck’s tire pinned his shirt and dragged him approximately 25 feet across the hot, jagged asphalt. He was crushed, suffering catastrophic and permanent injuries that would prevent him from ever working again.

Dustin was rushed to the emergency room with fractures and muscle tears blanketing his body. His collapsed lungs made it difficult to breathe. After a month-long stay in the hospital, he contacted Matt Wade and Luke Abel of the Abel Law Firm. The two met with Dustin and his family and agreed to help them attain compensation for the trauma he endured, his future medical treatment, and his loss of earnings.

As Matt and Luke investigated the incident, they discovered the truck’s dangerous flaw. The vehicle’s hydraulic tag axle lowered to provide stability and even weight distribution when the truck’s cement tank was full. However, when the tank was empty, the axle lifted the vehicle’s rear wheels off the ground, disengaging the only parking brake.

Matt and Luke needed to show that the accident stemmed from the manufacturer’s poor design, not Dustin’s error or potential inappropriate usage. They retained several experts, including an engineer who testified there were no warnings recognizing the defect within the operating manual. However, the two anticipated a challenge communicating the concrete mixer’s defective braking mechanism to laypeople — particularly those in a jury. Thus, they called on DK Global to create several animations modeling the truck, the accident, and Dustin’s injuries.

The animation began with an overview of the truck’s design. When the drum was empty, the tag axle negated its one parking brake because the hydraulic pressure was not adjusted to account for the reduced weight. The scene was recreated, showing Dustin parking his truck on the subtle decline as he attempted to clean the drum. The terrifying incident then unfolded: Dustin fell, the vehicle dragging him under its heavy weight. Finally, the video presented and highlighted Dustin’s injuries, illuminating the severity of his damages resulting from the manufacturer’s negligent design.

Luke and Matt shared the DK Global animations with the opposing party during mediation. Shortly after, they attained a favorable, confidential settlement to aid in Dustin’s lifelong recovery.

Luke Abel received an “AV rating” by Martindale-Hubbell, a peer rating given to attorneys ranked at the highest level of professional excellence. He has been consecutively 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, product liability, and was named one of the “Top 100 Attorneys” by The National Trial Lawyers.

Matthew Wade uses his valuable experience and knowledge as a past in-house counsel member for a major insurance company to represent the victims 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 our 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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