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$900,000 Settlement for Nurse Injured in Collision with Commercial Truck

Forest Horne and Hunt Willis obtained a settlement of $900,000 from a commercial trucking collision.  A Wake County woman was on her way to Duke Hospital where she works as a cardiac surgical nurse. As she approached the intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Westgate Road, she realized that the traffic signals in all directions were flashing.  Because the traffic lights were flashing yellow in her direction, she slowed and then proceeded with caution through the intersection.  Unbeknownst to her, to her immediate left, a commercial Ryder truck, who had a flashing red light, failed to stop and violently t-boned her on the driver’s side.  The impact was severe.  Our client suffered serious trauma to her left side including a broken hip and leg.  She was hospitalized for a week where she had surgery and recovered from her injuries.

After a very low settlement offer that came with allegations of contributory negligence, our client filed suit in Wake County Superior Court against the defendant truck driver and his employer, a nationwide delivery contractor for the United States Postal Service.  Despite the seriousness of the wreck and her injuries at the time, our client made a remarkable recovery and was able to finally return to work and perform her duties as an operating room cardiac nurse.

The case was defended on contributory negligence.  The driver of the truck insisted that he made a complete stop at his flashing red light and proceeded through an empty intersection.  He also stated that the plaintiff struck him.  The physical evidence strongly favored the plaintiff, however.  In addition to images of the wreck showing a side impact to our client, the black box data downloaded from both the commercial truck and our client’s vehicle were extracted by engineers.  The truck’s data confirmed that the defendant did not in fact make a full and complete stop at the flashing red light and instead rolled right through. Our client’s vehicle data also confirmed that she slowed her speed well below the posted speed limit as she proceeded with caution through her flashing yellow light.

Hunt Willis described the wreck as easily explainable once the truck’s data was reviewed.

“We were able to piece together that based on the truck driver’s route that morning, he did in fact stop at an intersection some distance away from where the wreck occurred, but when it came time to stop a second time at the flashing red light, the download data shows him going right through,” Hunt explained.

Forest Horne said, “Despite the seriousness of the injuries, the paid medical expenses were incredibly low because most of the medical treatment was provided by the same hospital that employed the plaintiff. Had the case proceeded to trial, we would not have introduced evidence of medical expenses.”

The case was set to be tried in Wake County Superior Court but was resolved for $900,000 while our client’s motion for summary judgment was pending.