Case details

Parties disputed visibility of stalled truck prior to impact





Result type

Not present

back, brain, brain injury, cognition, concussion, face, facial laceration, fracture, head, headaches, kidney, left hip, leg, legs, lower back, mental, neck, nose, psychological, right arm, sensory, skull, speech, subarachnoid hemorrhage, tinnitus, transverse process, traumatic brain injury, vertebra
On July 29, 2012, plaintiff Stephen Evans, 50, a truck driver and painter, was driving a tractor-trailer en route to Houston while accompanied by Danielle Meadows, a relatively new, inexperienced truck driver. Evans and Meadows were going to Houston to pick up a load and then return to Los Angeles. Evans claimed that before Meadows took over the driving, he advised her that the light on the gas gauge was not functioning properly and that, to avoid running low on gas, she should stop and fill up the tank when she reached Phoenix. Evans then retired to sleep for a few hours. A short while before 1:40 a.m., as Meadows drove on eastbound Interstate 10, approaching Milepost 364.4, the truck’s engine began to stall and lose power. As she reached a bridge where the freeway spans over a rural railway, Meadows pulled the truck as far to the right, and onto the emergency shoulder, as possible and turned on the truck’s emergency flashers. However, despite the fact that the truck came to a stop against the guardrail, part of the truck protruded into the number two eastbound lane of the narrow bridge. After stopping, Evans exited the cab to retrieve and place emergency triangles. Shortly thereafter, a tractor-trailer operated by Savean Saed Koza approached on eastbound Interstate 10 and struck the stalled truck. As a result of the impact, Evans was struck and pinned underneath the stalled tractor-trailer. He sustained multiple traumatic to his head, face, right arm, left hip, lower back, both legs, and a kidney. A passenger in Koza’s vehicle, Salah Jirjees, also sustained several , including to his face, head, neck, back, right shoulder, and right knee. Evans and Jirjees sued Meadows; Koza, individually and doing business as Annabella Trucking; the owner of the tractor-trailer being operated by Evans and Meadows, Impossible Dreams Inc., which was doing business as R&R Trucking; and the owner of a trailer box for the truck being driven by Koza, Castle Trucking Inc. Evans and Jirjees alleged that Koza and Meadows were negligent in the operation of their respective vehicles. They also alleged that Impossible Dreams was vicariously liable for Meadows’ actions through the course and scope of her work for the company and that Castle Trucking was vicarious liability for Koza’s actions through the course and scope of his work for the company. Evans claimed that despite advising Meadows to monitor the gas gauge and to stop and fill up the tank when she reached Phoenix, Meadows failed to stop for gas and failed to keep the inside light on so that she could monitor the fuel level. Thus, Evans claimed that Meadows’ negligence led to the truck stalling on the narrow bridge, which contributed to the rear-end collision. Plaintiffs’ counsel noted that the subject bridge, which is part of Interstate 10, is unlit and has four marked lanes, two for each direction of traffic. Counsel also noted that the road is straight and runs uphill on the eastbound side and that on the date of loss, the weather was clear and dry. Thus, plaintiffs’ counsel asserted that despite the clear view of the stalled tractor-trailer, Koza failed to see the flashing hazard lights on it and failed to notice the stalled truck at all until it was too late to avoid the collision. Meadows and Koza each blamed the other for the collision. Meadows claimed that Koza was at fault for failing to see the flashing hazard lights on her vehicle and avoid the stalled truck. Koza claimed that the Evans/Meadows truck did not have flashing lights on and that it was difficult to see as he approached the stalled vehicle, which was still protruding into the number two eastbound lane of the narrow bridge. Since Koza, individually and doing business as Annabella Trucking, took full responsibility for his alleged part of the accident, Castle Trucking was never served., Evans sustained multiple traumatic , including a 1-inch full-thickness laceration to the top of his head, an obvious deformity to his right humerus, and a partial amputation with open tibia and fibula fractures approximately 3- to 4-inches below his right knee. While he was pinned underneath the tractor-trailer, Emergency Medical Technicians responded to the scene and removed him by immobilizing Evans on a backboard with his right lower extremity splinted. Evans was then airlifted by Air Transport to a trauma center, where he was further diagnosed with hemorrhagic shock, a right parietal skull fracture, a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a right L4 transverse process fracture, open communicated right tibia and fibula fractures, a right scalp hematoma, right scalp lacerations, and an acute kidney injury. Evans subsequently underwent an initial right lower extremity amputation (below the knee) and a further revision surgery to the same limb. He also underwent open reduction and internal fixation of the left lower extremity for a condylar fracture. Evans was hospitalized for 12 days before being released to follow up his care at a VA Hospital. He then underwent extensive rehabilitation and was fitted with a prosthetic for his right leg. Evans also had numerous follow-up visits, and treated extensively with pain management and psychological counseling. Due to his , Evans was wheelchair bound for over six months and was unable to walk without assistive devices until he was finally fitted with a prosthetic leg one year after the accident. Thus, Evans sought recovery of $290,044.94 in past medical costs and an unspecified amount of future costs for his life care needs. He also sought recovery of damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Jirjees sustained a traumatic brain injury, a loss of consciousness, a concussion, memory loss, ringing in his ears, headaches, facial contusions, and right shoulder contusions and bruises. He also claimed pain to his neck, back, right shoulder, and right knee. Jirjees was subsequently taken by ambulance to an emergency room for treatment. He then had limited follow-up visits with treating doctors and underwent an MRI. Jirjees contended that he now has permanent scars and marks on his right shoulder and hand. Thus, Jirjees sought recovery of $70,754 in past medical costs and an unspecified amount of future medical costs. He also sought recovery of damages for his pain and suffering.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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