Case details

Drunken driver’s truck crushed leg, passenger claimed




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

ankle, collarbone, fracture, knee, lateral meniscus, leg, neck, shoulder, tear
On March 27, 2010, claimant Dustin Becker, 27, a UPS driver, was camping in a rural part of south Monterey County, near the Lockwood/San Ardo area, with Matthew Kammerer, Jess Sustarich and Ian James when they climbed into a vehicle operated by Christopher Bowie, who was intoxicated, in an attempt to find firewood. Bowie ultimately lost control of the truck, causing it to tumble down a steep embankment and throw the occupants about inside the vehicle. Becker’s right leg was subsequently crushed by the truck. Becker made a claim against Bowie’s insurance company and was prepared to file a lawsuit in the matter. Becker claimed Bowie was drunk and lost control of the vehicle while changing the music on his mobile mp3 player. He also claimed that Monterey County negligently maintained the roads, which potentially collapsed under the weight of Bowie’s vehicle. Respondents’ counsel contended that Becker was comparatively negligent because he was aware Bowie was intoxicated before getting into the truck with him. Thus, counsel asserted that Bowie assumed the risk by entering Bowie’s vehicle. Respondents’ counsel further noted that routine off-roading cases have been dismissed as barred by primary assumption of risk., Becker’s right leg was crushed by the truck. As a result, he was unable to move until help arrived nearly eight hours later and was subsequently airlifted to a hospital. Becker suffered fractures of the right leg’s femur, knee, tibia and lateral malleolus, as well as a lateral meniscus tear of the right knee. He also sustained a cervical vertebrae fracture at C1-2, a collarbone fracture, a suboccipital skull fracture, a brain hemorrhage and an injury to the superior tarsal of his right eye. In addition, Becker was infected by poison oak all over his body, which caused a blood infection to his right leg and postponed surgery. However, he was eventually able to undergo surgeries at the emergency room shortly after the accident. Becker claimed that he was left with permanent scarring on his extremities and face, and a permanent limp. He also claimed that his eye injury causes his right eye to remain lazy at times. Prior to the accident, Becker enjoyed the outdoors, especially going hiking, camping and off-roading regularly. He was also an avid outdoor photographer. However since the accident, Becker has not able to walk even one-eighth of a mile without his cane. He also claimed that was not able to drive his vehicle at all until this November 2011, almost two years post-accident. As a result, he alleged that he could not return to work as a UPS delivery driver. Thus, Becker sought recovery of damages, including $288,290.33 in past medical costs, $293,775 in future medical costs and $481,920 in loss of earnings.
Matter not filed, CA

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