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MehaffyWeber attorneys earn unanimous win for trucking accident clients
POSTED NOVEMBER 9, 2023
In this trucking lawsuit, Mike Magee and Mark Appling of MehaffyWeber represented the involved tractor-trailer driver (Greg Nava), the roadway construction company that employed him (Curran Contracting Company), and the construction company’s parent company (Curran Group). Thomas J. Henry represents Plaintiff, David Gonzales. Nava rear-ended Plaintiff after making a wide left turn from a highway access road onto Rigsby Avenue in San Antonio. The involved drivers’ accounts differed as to events leading up to the accident.
Plaintiff claimed that Nava was negligent for various reasons, including due to “off-tracking” of the trailer across multiple lanes; that Nava was on his cellphone; and that Plaintiff fully occupied the middle lane of Rigsby when Nava moved into it. Plaintiff further claimed that both Curran entities were liable for Nava’s negligence and separately liable for negligent entrustment, hiring, training, and supervision of Nava. Additionally, gross negligence was asserted against each defendant. Plaintiff alleged having substantial injuries to his neck and back, eventually undertaking cervical and lumbar fusions accompanied by recommendations for further surgeries to his thoracic spine and for expected complications from adjacent segment disease. Plaintiff, who was also a commercial driver, further claimed that he lost his job and could no longer work because of his injuries. Thomas J. Henry went all in, retaining experts on accident reconstruction, transportation, vocational rehabilitation, an economist, and used two treating surgeons to prove up medical causation.
Both liability and damages were disputed, but the issue of damages was not reached by the jury. Nava’s account of the accident was that Plaintiff—in an attempt to get around the off-tracking trailer blocking his path—cut across a concrete median, crossed over a solid white line from a turn-only lane on Rigsby, and then slammed on his brakes in front of Nava’s tractor. Defendants’ accident reconstruction analysis and testimony on skid marks left at the scene demonstrated that Nava’s account was consistent with the roadway evidence (which doesn’t lie). This same evidence—coupled with a 911 recording in which Plaintiff indicated he was hit when “getting back into his lane” and off-tracking modeling done by Plaintiff’s own accident reconstruction expert—directly contradicted Plaintiff’s account. All of this was compounded by Plaintiff’s admission on cross-examination that he would be at fault if Nava’s version were true. Defendants also presented evidence that off-tracking of the trailer did not have a causal connection with the accident; that Nava, an experienced CDL driver, did not need training on how to make a left turn through an intersection and had a clean driving record when hired by Curran; that Nava was not on his phone at the time of the accident; and that Plaintiff called an attorney within 40 minutes of the accident (with all subsequent medical care being attorney-directed).
Over the course of the seven-day trial, Plaintiff claimed approximately $1.2 million for medical expenses and $1.2 million for lost earnings, eventually arguing for $14.3 million in closing (not including punitive damages). After deliberating for approximately 50 minutes, the jury returned with a unanimous verdict finding Plaintiff was 100% at fault for the accident.