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Posts Tagged ‘ SUV crash ’

$32.4M Verdict to Family of Woman Killed When SUV Crashed into Store

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/alexskopje

As she walked into a Massachusetts convenience store in November 2010, 43-year-old Kimmy Dubuque was struck and killed by an SUV that accidentally was driven forward by its 81-year-old driver from the parking lot into the storefront.

Her survivors have been awarded a $32.4 million verdict by a Massachusetts jury in connection with Dubuque’s death, according to a Feb. 24 by FairWarning.org. Dubuque was killed when the out-of-control SUV was able to crash into the storefront because no protective bollards had been placed in front of the store to prevent just such a tragedy, the story reported.

Dubuque, of Chicopee, Mass., was about to walk into a Cumberland Farms convenience store in Chicopee when she was struck by the errant SUV and pushed inside the store, the story reported.

The family’s lawyers contended that Framingham, Mass.-based Cumberland Farms, which runs a chain of convenience stores and gas stations across the Northeast, was at fault in the death because it did not install 6-inch-thick bollards in front of store entrances, the story reported. These kinds of storefront crashes have become more common in recent years and could result in fewer injuries if such bollards would be installed to keep pedestrians safer, the story reported.

Lawyers for the woman’s husband and daughter “accused Cumberland Farms of dragging its feet in installing bollards throughout the chain, including some 250 to 300 stores that were excluded when it the company began installing them at some stores in 2011, according to the story. “In addition, evidence shows that after determining that arrays of 6-inch-wide bollards could be installed at a per-store cost of $3,000 to $3,500, Cumberland Farms switched to narrower posts and thinner steel to save money.”

Cumberland Farms stores have had some 485 car strike incidents between 2000 to 2009 at its 500-plus East Coast convenience stores, based on records submitted in the case, the story reported. Other retail store chains, including Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and 7-Eleven, also see such incidents in front of their stores, the report continued.

The victim’s family was also awarded about $15 million in interest by the state court jury because the case was originally filed in May of 2012. Most of the original $32.4 million verdict was awarded for punitive damages.

These kinds of tragic legal cases occur every day when innocent victims are severely hurt or killed in vehicle crashes through no fault of their own due to the actions, inattentiveness or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.

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$15M Damage Award in Lancaster County Fatal DUI Car Crash Case

A Lancaster County jury has awarded $15 million in damages to the family of a 24-year-old York County woman who was killed in February 2014 when the car she was driving was struck by an SUV that was being operated by a man who was legally drunk.

Kaitlyn E. Berry was killed in the Feb. 22, 2014 crash when her vehicle was struck on Lancaster’s East King Street by an SUV being driven erratically by Carlos R, Garcia, according to a Jan. 19 story by LancasterOnline.com. Her mother, Lisa Stamper, was a passenger in Berry’s car and was severely injured, the story reported.

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/tillsonburg

Garcia pleaded guilty in July 2014 to felony counts of vehicular homicide while driving under the influence, aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence and related charges in connection with the crash, the paper reported.

“With his 7-year-old son as a front-seat passenger, Garcia was seen speeding and passing cars on East King Street without using turn signals before he struck Stamper’s eastbound Subaru,” the story reported. Berry was driving her mother’s car when the crash occurred.

“Garcia’s license had already been suspended — from a prior DUI — when he got behind the wheel” of the SUV that day, the story reported. “Police determined Garcia’s SUV was traveling 55 mph, in a 35 mph zone, and that he didn’t brake prior to the crash.”

His blood-alcohol level later was tested to be .144 percent after the crash, which is nearly twice the Commonwealth’s legal limit of .08 percent, the story reported.

Berry, of Dover, York County, died in the crash, and her mother, who lives in Lancaster Township, was left wheelchair-bound, according to the story.

Garcia was sentenced to 19 years and three months to 38 years in prison for his crimes, according to the courts.

Berry’s estate was awarded more than $8 million, while her mother was awarded more than $7 million for her injuries.

These kinds of tragic legal cases occur every day when innocent victims are severely hurt or killed in vehicle crashes and a wide range of other incidents through no fault of their own due to the actions, inattentiveness or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in such an incident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.

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$12.5 Million Jury Verdict against Toyota in Lap Belt Case

Toyota Motor Corp. must pay a $12.5 million verdict in California after a jury ruled that a victim in an SUV crash was severely injured due to a poorly designed lap belt in the center rear seat of a 1996 Toyota 4Runner.

The victim, Chelsie Hill, who was 17 years old at the time of the 2010 crash in southern California, was a passenger in the center rear seat of the 4Runner when the SUV smashed into a tree, according to an Oct. 21 story in The Los Angeles Times.  The seat where Hill was sitting was the only one of five positions in the vehicle that had no shoulder belt as well as a lap belt.

Following the trial, the Monterey County Superior Court jury found that “the design of the middle seat belt in the rear row of a Toyota 4Runner was responsible for injuries that made her a paraplegic,” the paper reported. “Hill’s body was almost cut in half by the lap belt when the Toyota’s driver lost control and hit a tree.”

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/creatingmore

A neurosurgeon who treated Hill after she was brought in to a hospital testified that her injuries were so bad that her body “was held together by skin” and that he thought she would die in the emergency room, the story reported.

Toyota argued in court that the victim was injured in the crash because of the severity of the impact and because she was not wearing the belt properly, rather than her injuries being due to a flawed belt design, the paper reported.

The driver of the 4Runner and three other passengers suffered only minor injuries in the crash, the Times reported. The driver and two passengers were using their shoulder and lap belts, while the remaining passenger was not wearing a seat belt or shoulder belt. The driver was later convicted of DUI and spent three years in prison, the paper reported.

Hill’s attorney argued that had the 4Runner been equipped with a center rear seat shoulder belt, she would have not suffered her severe injuries, the paper reported. “Toyota had the technology, and chose not to use it, putting the least safe and least expensive restraint system in that seat,” the attorney said.

Starting in 2005, new federal safety regulations required rear center seat lap-shoulder belts in all new vehicles, according to the report.

Eventually, Hill, a former high school dancer, became a television reality show star when she later joined the cast of the Sundance Channel reality television series “Push Girls,” about the lives of young paralyzed women, the story reported.

These kinds of injury cases occur every day when innocent victims are hurt or killed in vehicle crashes through no fault of their own due to the actions, inattentiveness or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

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$950,000 Settlement for Calif. Man Injured When Truck Hits His SUV

A 30-year-old California man has received a $950,000 settlement from the City of San Diego, Calif., after a city water department driver drove his truck into the victim’s SUV in June 2012.

The settlement award to James Heath was approved by San Diego City Council members on Oct. 7, five months after the victim was awarded a $1.3 million jury verdict in the case, according to a story in the San Diego Union-Tribune. The city then appealed the verdict and decided to seek a new trial, but recently reversed course and chose to settle the case, the story reported.

Heath suffered long-term neck and arm injuries in the crash, which occurred when a city truck driven by water department employee John Romero crashed into Heath’s SUV on Jackson Drive near Mission Gorge Road in San Carlos, the paper reported. The original jury had awarded Heath $1.3 million for pain, suffering and previous and future medical expenses.

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/alexskopje

Romero’s city water truck had drifted from one lane of the roadway and into Heath’s lane, according to the victim.

Under the settlement, the city will pay Heath $97,000 immediately and then fund an annuity that will give him about $1,300 a month through late 2025, according to the story. The victim will also receive $20,000 per year from 2027 through 2030. The payout also includes $153,000 in attorney’s fees and payments to several doctors who have examined and treated Heath, the story reported.

Heath’s long-term injuries forced him to leave his work with the Navy, the report stated.

These kinds of injury cases occur every day when innocent victims are hurt or killed in vehicle crashes through no fault of their own due to the actions, inattentiveness or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

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Virginia Family Awarded $14 Million in Damages from Hyundai For Son’s Car Crash Injuries

The family of a 16-year-old driver in Virginia was awarded $14 million in damages by a Virginia jury after the side airbag in the car the boy was driving one night in February 2010 failed to deploy after he crashed the vehicle.

In its verdict, the jury ruled that Hyundai Motor America, which sold the 2008 Hyundai Tiburon the teen was driving that night, “breached the implied warranty of merchantability, meaning the company made a vehicle that was ‘unreasonably dangerous,’” according to a story in The Roanoke (VA) Times. The jury found that the breach of merchantability is what caused serious, life-changing injuries to the youth, Zachary “Gage” Duncan, who suffered a severe brain injury in the crash.

The crash on Feb. 27, 2010, put Duncan in a hospital for treatment of a coma, according to the newspaper. Following his hospitalization, he had to spend time in a rehabilitation center where he had to relearn how to talk and walk, the paper reported.

Emergency workers inspect a damaged SUV following a traffic accident in this stock photo. Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/ApplebyTexas

The brain injuries occurred when the boy’s head struck the roof rail of the Tiburon as the vehicle smashed into a tree, The Roanoke Times reported. Just before the crash, Duncan’s vehicle passed another car that was being driven by his friend, then “ran off the right side of the road, hit a snowbank, traveled down a hill, hit a hay bale and then struck a tree.”

The jury ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, who argued that because the impact into the tree didn’t deploy the side airbag in the vehicle, that the sensor meant to deploy the airbag was improperly situated under the driver’s seat, where it didn’t protect the driver, the story reported.

Had the airbag sensor been properly located where it would have detected the crash and activated the airbag, the boy might have been prevented from suffering his severe injuries, his attorney argued.

The teen’s parents, Keith and Vanessa Duncan, also sued the car dealership where they bought the Tiburon for their son, but that case was settled out of court with an undisclosed award, the paper reported.

A spokesman for Hyundai told the Reuters news service that the company “strongly disagrees with the verdict” and will appeal. “Hyundai had argued that the car’s airbag system met federal safety standards and had been thoroughly tested and found to be safe. The company had said that Duncan rolled his vehicle into a tree, and that a side air bag would not have kept him from being injured.”

The case was previously in court in September 2012 but ended in a mistrial when those jurors said they could not reach a decision in the case.

The new jury awarded the family $14 million for Duncan’s injuries, including $140,000 for medical expenses related to his original hospital treatment and for his rehabilitation hospital stay, according to The Roanoke Times. Duncan, who is now 20 years old, will have to live in a long-term, supervised facility due to his brain injuries from the crash, the paper reported. The estimated price tag for lifetime care for the victim is more than $11 million.

Tiburons were built by Hyundai from 2003 to 2008, when they were discontinued, reported Reuters.

Vehicle safety is a critical factor to consider today when buying any new or used vehicle for your family.

In May, new tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that only two widely-available small SUV models earned ratings of “good” or “acceptable” out of a field of 13 small SUVs that were run through certain frontal crashes called “small overlap” crashes, according to a previous MyPhillyLawyer blog post. The Hyundai Tiburon was not included in the IIHS study.

The crash that injured Duncan is the kind of incident that happens every day across the United States when people suffer terrible, life-changing traumas due to the actions or indifference of others.

That’s where having a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award is key.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.

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How Inadequate Auto Insurance Leaves Drivers Financially Vulnerable

Let’s say that you’re driving along and minding your own business when suddenly your vehicle is struck broadside by another vehicle that ran a red light.

The police are summoned as you sit there assessing your injuries and pains, but at least, you think, you have adequate insurance coverage that will take care of your medical care, personal needs and your recovery.

The problem with that scenario, though, becomes very real if the other driver has no insurance, or even worse, has inadequate coverage.

That’s one of the biggest dangers on our roads today – drivers who have only state-minimum coverage or no insurance at all.

I just heard an anecdote about a civil servant in his 40s in the Philadelphia metropolitan area who was in a store parking lot, simply minding his own business and walking back to his car recently.

Two Emergency Medical Technicians lower a crash victim onto a stretcher. Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/Spiritartist

Two Emergency Medical Technicians lower a crash victim onto a stretcher. Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/Spiritartist

At the same time, another driver in the parking lot apparently mistakenly hit her vehicle’s gas pedal instead of the brake while backing her car out of a parking place. Her car backed into the man, pinning him between the two now-smashed vehicles.

The victim suffered two broken legs and other serious injuries and had to endure the surgical installation of pins to repair bones in his legs. His medical treatment is probably going to total several hundred thousand dollars, and he will most likely not ever be able to return to his former job due to his severe, life-changing injuries.

The other driver did have insurance, but she only carried the minimum $15,000 of liability coverage that is required by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. That means that all the man can recover from the woman’s insurance company for his serious injuries is $15,000, which is a far cry from his actual losses. And that, of course, leaves nothing for him to recover from the other driver’s insurer for his pain and suffering, income losses and other related damages.

And worse for this man, he didn’t have any Underinsured Motorist (UIM) or Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage under his own vehicle insurance policy, leaving him very vulnerable.

Yes, his additional medical expenses and recovery expenses will be covered under the health insurance he receives through his employer, but his options under his auto policy appear to be very limited.

This didn’t have to happen, however.

The problem is that many drivers are operating their vehicles on public roadways while not even realizing that they probably have inadequate insurance coverage to guard against UM and UIM incidents.

The minimum $15,000 liability requirement in Pennsylvania was set some 30 years ago and has not been changed since then, which is absurd. It’s a travesty of justice for working people who drive around thinking that they have adequate insurance coverage and then find out how wrong those assumptions can be when the unthinkable happens and they are injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver.

It was a whole different world 30 years ago when the $15,000 minimum coverage limit was established, and unbelievably, no provisions were ever created to increase that figure annually for inflation and for changing times.

Another coverage area where drivers often find they are underinsured is for medical expenses in the event of a crash. The minimum amount for coverage in Pennsylvania is $5,000, and that miniscule, inadequate amount is what most people carry to help keep their insurance premiums lower.

So what can drivers do to better protect themselves?

You need to carefully review your vehicle insurance policies on your own and with your insurance agent to find out what coverage you actually have, and then find out how much it would cost to better protect yourself and your loved ones when you are in your vehicles. Often, higher coverage limits are not as expensive as people might think, especially when that’s compared to not having adequate coverage.

Having adequate insurance coverage to protect yourself from the irresponsible actions of other drivers is critical. It’s a necessity for peace of mind and for the long-term safety and financial security of your family.

You don’t want to find out after you have been seriously injured that your insurance is inadequate and that your future is now more clouded and uncertain due to perceived savings of a few bucks on your vehicle coverage.

These kinds of incidents and injuries happen every day when innocent victims are hurt in vehicle accidents through no fault of their own due to the actions or indifference of others.

That’s where having a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award is key.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.

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