Selected Case Summaries – Motor Vehicle Crashes
Hove Family v. Keen Transport and Cressler Trucking, Inc. and Allison Farrar (Illinois 2007)
Joseph Hove was a seventeen year old straight A student, an Eagle Scout and the State Science Project Winner. He was a popular student, a devoted church member, a wonderful brother, and a near perfect son. On May 20, 2003, while the whole family was returning from his college visit to Wheaton in Illinois, a semi driven by an inexperienced and inattentive driver ran into the back of the family vehicle where Joseph was asleep. Joseph was fatally injured. His dad, an emergency room doctor, was seriously injured. The crash occurred near Chicago and the family sued in Cook County under Illinois law. The family settled their case for a confidential amount.
Turpen v. Belanger and Penske Truck Leasing Corporation (2002)
Richard and Tiffany Turpen were a happy married couple with two young children. They were driving their car on I-80 in Nebraska on September 13, 2001, when a semi-truck driven by Belanger crossed the grassy median and struck them head on. Tiffany was killed and Richard was seriously injured. The case was settled for a confidential amount.
Larry Guilds v. K&B Transportation, Inc. (1997)
On December 2, 1995 Larry Guilds was driving a tractor-trailer west on Interstate 80 near Davenport, Iowa. Larry slowed his rig down and turned on his right signal before entering an exit ramp leading to a rest area. The driver of another tractor trailer rig also traveling westbound struck Larry from behind. Larry’s trailer was damaged and the Defendant’s tractor was completely destroyed. Although Larry was struck from behind, the Defendant nevertheless contended that Larry was wholly or partially at fault because he was going too slowly as he exited the rest lane ramp. The Defendants also hired an expert witness to testify that the forces involved in the crash were insufficient to cause the injuries claimed.
As a result of this incident, Larry was taken immediately by ambulance to a local hospital where he was treated and released. He eventually returned home to Arizona and continued treatment for the injuries to his neck, shoulder, left arm and both feet. Larry incurred about $20,000 in medical expenses. In addition, he was unable to work for a significant period of time. This was his first truck driving job and his doctors all testified that he was unable to continue driving a truck. A doctor hired by the Defendant stated that there was nothing wrong with Larry and that he could drive a truck.
The case settled shortly before trial for $140,000.
Lounsbury v. Bullock and Agritronics Corporation (1994)
Seventy-eight year old farmer, William Lounsbury, was traveling on the highway between his plots of land. His tractor was properly marked as a slow moving vehicle and he was traveling mostly on the shoulder. Sonny Bullock was driving a semi for his employer. It was a bright spring day on a straight and level highway. Bullock struck the tractor, dragging it 200 feet and killing Lounsbury instantly. He was survived by his 4 adult children. The jury awarded the family $212,118.00. The court added pre-judgment interest and costs.
Nancy Hill, et al. v. Pedersen (1989)
Nancy Hill, Cindy Beliel, Larry Harvey and Jerome Harvey were driving on Highway 65 near Bondurant, Iowa in a 1985 Bronco. Highway 65 was being converted into a four-lane highway, but where the crash occurred the highway was still two lanes. The Defendant did not see the signs clearly indicating that the road went from four lanes to two lanes. Defendant pulled into the oncoming traffic. Cindy, the driver of the Bronco, saw Defendant speeding toward her and took evasive action to avoid a head on collision. The Bronco was forced off the road and rolled several times.
Nancy Hill and Larry Harvey were both life-flighted to Iowa Methodist Medical Center. Nancy sustained a mild closed head injury. Larry Harvey (age 10) suffered multiple abrasions and bruises and posttraumatic blindness that eventually resolved. He fully recovered from his physical injuries, but continued to have nightmares and flashbacks about the accident. Cindy Beliel was also severely bruised and beaten up in the accident, but fully recovered. Jerome Harvey was treated and released the day of the accident from the hospital.
The total medical expenses for all four of the Plaintiffs was more than $30,000. Nancy was the most seriously injured and continued to have disabling pain and required future medical care. She also missed a lot of work and had difficulty returning to work as a result of her injuries.
The driver of the other vehicle (Pedersen) only carried $100,000 of liability insurance. The case settled without suit for the policy limits of $100,000.