On October 19, 2015, an Imperial County Superior Court jury in El Centro, California awarded $5.1 million to a woman who suffered serious orthopedic injuries after the vehicle she was driving collided with a commercial truck that had illegally crossed into her lane. The plaintiff was represented at trial by Los Angeles truck accident lawyers Brian Panish, Thomas Schultz, Spencer Lucas and Erika Contreras of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP. The plaintiff was also represented in the case by Laura Lynn Davidson and Jubin J. Niamehr of Akiva Niamehr LLP.
On December 6, 2013, a truck driver working for Joe Heger Farms, LLC was operating a commercial flatbed truck fully loaded with nearly 20,000 pounds of chicken pellets. Elvia Gomez Gonzalez, age 59 at the time, was driving her 2009 Nissan Versa northbound on Ferrell Road when the truck, which was traveling southbound, crossed into the northbound lane to begin making an improper left turn. Mrs. Gonzalez attempted to avoid a collision with the truck but was unable to do so due to its size.
As a result of the collision, Mrs. Gonzalez suffered significant injuries including a pelvic fracture, a fractured left leg and ankle, and transverse fractures of the spine. She has undergone three major surgeries including a total hip replacement. Once an active member of her community, the accident has left Mrs. Gonzalez with serious physical limitations and unable to return to work.
At trial, the defense contended that the damages being requested by Mrs. Gonzalez were excessive and argued that Mrs. Gonzalez was not as seriously injured as she claimed, that she had substantially recovered and that she would not have lifelong complaints relating to her injuries. The jury disagreed and awarded Mrs. Gonzalez $5,138,260 including $477,817 for past economic losses, $1,410,543 for future economic losses, and $3,250,0000 for past and future pain and suffering.
Defendants were represented at trial by Paul Kissel and Jonathan Geen of Borton Petrini LLP.
This is believed to be the second-largest personal injury jury verdict in Imperial County history. Panish Shea & Boyle LLP obtained the largest personal injury verdict in Imperial County in 2007 when a jury awarded $5.64 million to Teresa Gonzalez who was seriously injured at the age of 15 when the family van she riding in was hit by a Dresick Farms commercial truck.
Panish Shea & Boyle LLP has obtained numerous multimillion-dollar jury verdicts in truck accident cases in the last several years, including a $17,393,479.87 verdict against NuCO2 in June 2015 for a chain collision caused by a NuCO2 truck that left a young man with facial and brain injuries. Additional recent jury verdicts in truck crash cases include a $36,482,302.56 verdict against Schneider National in a big-rig truck accident that left a woman catastrophically injured and a $34,555,220 verdict for a man who suffered a below-the-knee amputation after he was hit by the trailer of a semi-truck.
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