Plaintiffs were employed by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission as maintenance workers. Their responsibilities included providing roadway maintenance for the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Because of inclement weather on the morning of plaintiffs’ accident, plaintiffs were assigned by their foreman to patrol the turnpike to assist disabled or stranded motorists. Plaintiffs noticed a stranded motorist eastbound on the Pennsylvania Turnpike on the shoulder of the road. They pulled up behind the stranded motorist in their truck. While one Plaintiff was checking on the stranded motorist, the other Plaintiff returned to the truck to call for a tow truck.
While in the process of doing this, defendant was traveling eastbound in the left lane at approximately 55 miles per hour when he lost control of his tractor-trailer because of black ice. After striking the concrete median divider, defendant’s tractor-trailer crossed both lanes on the Turnpike and jack-knifed with the tractor portion striking plaintiffs’ parked vehicle. The debris from plaintiffs’ vehicle struck one of the plaintiffs.
The other plaintiff was trapped inside his pick up truck and it took 40 minutes to remove him from his wrecked vehicle
Injuries for one plaintiff included: C1-2 fracture, transverse process fractures L2 and L3, six comminuted rib fractures, flail chest and pneumothorax injuries, cervical radiculopathy and cervical strain, and two chipped teeth.
Injuries for the second plaintiff included: Double incisional hernia, lumbar strain, post-traumatic carpel tunnel syndrome, and chronic pain syndrome
Initially, defendants denied liability claiming that plaintiffs’ vehicle was around a sharp curve in the roadway and not visible to oncoming traffic. As such, they had a responsibility to provide flares, orange cones, and other means of early warning indicators to let oncoming traffic know of their presence.
Through discovery, plaintiffs established that approximately a half an hour prior to plaintiffs’ accident, precipitation in the form of hail including rain and snow began to fall. Consequently, as a professional truck driver, the defendant should have altered his driving habits for road conditions that were prevailing at the time of the accident.
During their investigation, plaintiffs were able to locate another truck driver who was traveling in the same direction as Defendant was traveling prior to the accident. The independent truck driver’s deposition testimony revealed that his commercial vehicle had slowed down to approximately 40 miles per hour because of precipitation that formed on the roadway and that approximately a mile before the accident defendant passed him in the left lane and was driving much too fast for conditions at that time.
The case settled for $1,750,000.00. Richard M. Jurewicz, Esquire of Galfand Berger handled this matter. For more information on this case, please contact him at [email protected].