Snyder Law Successfully Defends Million-Mile Truck Driver

At the end of October 2014, Ken Martin and Barry Snyder obtained a defense verdict from a jury in a trucking case tried in Long Beach. Snyder Law, LLP was asked to take over the defense of the matter after the original defense attorneys recommended settlement of $425,000 to the insurance carrier. The carrier disagreed strongly and sought other counsel.

The rear end impact was a very low speed, 8-10 mph in stop-and-go traffic, with minor strains and sprains for which the plaintiff was treated through workers compensation – total cost $1610 with two days off work. After five weeks, when he did not return to normal, he retained an attorney who sent him to a pain specialist, chiropractor and then a neurosurgeon. Plaintiff had neck surgery 6 months following the accident will all bills after the attorney visit being on liens, $220,000 total. He did not file a workers compensation claim, saying he was fearful of employer retailiation.

Ken and Barry argued that the insured driver had driven for over one million miles, spent over 10,000 hours in stop-and-go traffic and never had an accident. The insured testified that plaintiff cut in front of him and stopped, eliminating the “safe zone” for stopping. Plaintiff claimed that he was not changing lanes.

Both the defense neurologist retained by the original defense firm and plaintiff’s neurosurgeon testified that the accident caused the need for surgery. The defense neurosurgeon disputed the total medical bills, testifying that $60,000 was reasonable, $220,000 was not. Both sides called biomechanical experts, who agreed on the impact speed, but disagreed on the forces necessary to cause a disc herniation. The defendant’s biomechanical expert, Wilson Hayes, PhD, testified that the forces involved were equivalent to those experienced by plaintiff in his daily work and life activities.

Plaintiff had been offered $250,000 at an earlier mediation, and after Snyder Law came on board, the offer was lowered to $150,000. The demand just before trial was $500,000. Plaintiff counsel asked the jury for a verdict of $1,316,500. After only 45 minutes of deliberation, the jury returned with a 9-3 verdict, finding the defendant truck driver was not negligent.

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