Jury Awards Over $1 Million In Tractor-Trailer Rear-end Collision Case

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On March 13, 2018, attorneys Brian Poulter of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP and G. Amy Vahdat of Law Offices of Vahdat & Associate obtained a $1,036,338.86 jury verdict in Kern County Superior Court for personal injuries following a rear-end collision with a tractor-trailer.                                                                                                                                                                                        Plaintiff Jesse Bias was driving a semi-truck and utility trailer in the early morning hour of September 26, 2014, traveling at a lawful speed and wearing his safety belt while heading northbound on Interstate 5 in Kern County. Defendant Jose Lopez, driving a semi-truck and trailer weighing 80,000 pounds, was traveling in the same direction and on the same highway as Mr. Bias at speeds in excess of 75 mph just before colliding with the rear of Plaintiff’s truck. The force of the collision caused Mr. Bias’ head to hit the headrest, shattering the rear-window of his cab.

As a result of the collision, the 45-year-old truck driver was immediately confused and disoriented from the significant blow to his head and did not experience any immediate pain to his neck, back, or shoulders at the scene. Due to the head trauma, as well as the flow of adrenaline, Mr. Bias declined immediate medical attention but consulted with a worker’s comp doctor several times following the collision, telling doctors that he was fully healed and ready to go back to work within two weeks of the collision.

Fact of the matter, Mr. Bias was not fully healed and over the course of the next two years, underwent a course of conservative treatments including physical therapy, chiropractic care, as well as epidural steroid injections to his lumbar spine to treat injuries to his head, cervical spine, shoulders, and lumbar spine before undergoing surgery. The spinal surgery was a success, and Plaintiff would seek compensation for past economic and non-economic damages at trial as a result of the truck collision.

Throughout the seven day trial, defense counsel focused their case on Mr. Bais’ admission that he was healed and ready to go back to work immediately following the collision. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that the truck driver was in fear of losing his job for making a worker’s comp claim as others had been fired for the same thing. The jury found in favor of the Plaintiff, awarding $1,036,338.86 to Mr. Bias.

Prior to trial, defense offer for settlement was $150,000.