Verdicts and Settlements

Injured Trucker Settles for $500,000

November, 2014

This was a premises liability case.  We represented a truck driver.  The Defendants controlled commercial property where a fall occurred.  Tractor-trailers come and go from the facility all day and night.  Our client slipped and fell due to the icy condition of the facility’s parking lot.  He fell after getting out of his cab, while attempting to operate a cranking device used to secure a trailer to a truck.

The fall occurred at approximately 4:00 AM, when it was dark and cold.  Defendants admitted that the kind of work our client was doing required him to walk and/or stand in the spaces between the trailers.  Defendants, however, did not clear those areas of snow and ice, and did not treat those areas with salt.

Our client had a history of back problems, including previous back surgery from many years earlier.  As recently as a few weeks before the incident, he saw an orthopedic doctor for this.  His medical history placed him at increased risk of injury in the event of a fall.  Despite his medical history, he was working full time as a truck driver with absolutely no work restrictions.

When the pain did not subside after the subject fall, he went to the emergency room.  He began a course of conservative treatment, but within two months of the incident, a CT scan revealed a new back injury that aligned perfectly with the symptoms that began with the fall:  A herniated disc at L3-4 with impingement on the nerve.  This herniated disc, in conjunction with his previous back history, left him in chronic pain.

The case settled at mediation just days before trial was to begin.

Victims of Airbag Failure Settle

October, 2014

For $2 million, an auto manufacturer and its authorized distributor have settled a products liability claim arising from the failure of front airbags to deploy in a head-on collision between two passenger cars.  The collision was caused by a drunk driver who crossed over the center line.  Zajac & Arias co-counseled on the case with Williamsport-based Lepley, Engelman & Yaw. The clients were on their way to the mall to do some shopping when the crash occurred.  The passenger sustained serious, permanent head injuries – the very kind of injuries airbags are meant to protect against.  The case was strengthened by an investigative report written by an airbag design expert, whose opinions were supported by other experts in biomechanics and accident reconstruction.  Attorney Eric Zajac handled the case for Zajac & Arias, while Attorney Douglas Engelman handled the case for Lepley, Engelman & Yaw.

Victim of Fireworks Explosion settles case for over $500,000

September, 2014

This case arose from a community fireworks display.  The cause of this incident was a malfunctioning firework that landed in a crowd of spectators who were allowed to sit within the fall-out zone where they should not have been.  The fireworks display was held at a township park.

The incident occurred at the very end of the fireworks display, and was caught on videotape. An investigation conducted by the Township revealed that a 3-inch firework known as a “salute” failed to detonate as intended. The firework landed in the crowd, and then quickly exploded. The blast created a crater approximately 2 feet by 2 feet. The blast was sufficiently violent to melt a plastic water bottle nearby.

The Firm’s client was one of many spectators who were injured by the blast.  Our client received extensive treatment for his injuries, including from an ears, nose and throat doctor, a physical therapist, a neurologist, psychologists, and at least one psychiatrist.  The injuries included: mild traumatic brain injury; neurosensory hearing loss in the left ear; chronic severe tinnitus; disequilibrium; labyrinthine dysfunction; otalgia of the left ear; post-concussion vestibular dysfunction; concussive noise trauma; and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The Firm’s client was awarded the highest settlement of all the injured spectators.

Airbag Case Settles

June, 2013

This crashworthiness action arose from a collision which occurred in New Jersey.  We represented the seat-belted driver of a vehicle traveling at a moderate rate of speed on a two-lane highway in Warren County, New Jersey.  The driver was returning to Pennsylvania from his place of employment in New Jersey, when the vehicle traveled onto the opposite lane of travel.  There was a head-on impact.  In the collision, the driver-side airbag did not deploy and the driver-side shoulder harness was torn from its lap belt.  The driver was killed on impact.

Even though the driver was properly restrained by his seatbelt, the failure to deploy the Frontal Impact Airbag led to the vulnerability of his body having to absorb the crash forces that were being produced. These harmful forces would have been reduced or eliminated by the proper deployment of the frontal impact airbag. Additionally, a clear failure of the seatbelt further exacerbated the injury potential of the collision to the driver.

The failure to deploy the driver front airbag resulted directly in the fatal injuries suffered in the collision. The failure to deploy the driver frontal impact airbag rendered the vehicle defective and unreasonably dangerous in the subject collision.  The case settled for a confidential amount during mediation.

Landscaper Struck by Car Settles for $360,000

April, 2013

This motor vehicle versus pedestrian accident action arose from a collision that occurred when our client was struck by the side of the road by an elderly driver.  Our client was a landscaper.  A vehicle he was standing behind was a landscaping truck and had its rear doors open and a ramp descending from the interior of the vehicle to the pavement. There was an orange hazard cone placed behind the landscaping truck and its hazard lights were flashing. Defendant was in her mid-eighties and suffering from progressive Parkinson’s disease.