Shannon Brown is a very lucky woman. Not because she recently received just over $1 million in a trucking accident lawsuit, but mainly because she is alive to talk about it. As a Maryland trucking accident and personal injury attorney, I have represented people like Shannon who have been injured in heavy truck and tractor-trailer crashes as a result of another person’s negligence. These types of truck-car collisions happen quite frequently in the Baltimore area and in other cities and towns across the state. Many times the outcome is quite tragic.
Trucking accidents can result at the very least in cuts and bruises. At worst passenger vehicle occupants can many times suffer compound fractures, concussions and traumatic brain injuries, and spinal damage. Fatalities are common. Occupants of passenger cars are at much higher risk of injury or death when it comes to being hit by a large over-the-road truck than by another car. Such was the case back in 2006 when Shannon and her little baby boy became victims of another driver’s carelessness.
The accident occurred on July 13, 2006, when a tanker truck ran a red light and hit Brown’s car. Although she survived the crash, the impact was so severe that her right leg was crushed. Fortunately, her tiny baby who was riding in the car was not even injured in the accident. Brown had two undergo two surgeries for her fractured leg, with doctors placing 18 screws and a plate in the leg to restore it to a usable state.
According to reports, the plaintiffs and defendants had disagreed over who was at fault in causing the collision. In the end, the jury decided that an 11-year-old witness was the most credible. That individual testified that Brown was the one with the green light, not the driver of the tanker truck. The jury also found the truck driver liable for causing the traffic crash.
The Baltimore jury awarded Brown $1,063,807.37 on August 11, 2009, of which $1 million was for Brown’s pain and suffering. However, under the Maryland’s damages cap rules, Brown’s non-economic damage award will be reduced to just under $729,000.
The state’s damages cap places a limit on the amount of compensation a jury may award for non-economic damages like pain and suffering in a Maryland personal injury lawsuit. At the time of Brown’s accident, the Maryland statute capped a plaintiff’s non-economic damages at $665,000.
Traffic violations, such as running a red light, not stopping at a red light, failing to signal, and failing to obey the speed limit, can lead to catastrophic consequences if the driver’s truck ends up hitting another, usually smaller vehicle.
It is important to note that just two weeks before going to trial, Eastern Petroleum, one of the defendants in the suit, attempted to offer Brown a settlement in the amount of $25,000. This is just one example of why retaining a personal injury lawyer is imperative in matters of serious injury or fatal accidents.