Case details

Plaintiff should have seen trailer prior to crash, defense argued





Result type

Not present

crush injury, leg
On Oct. 16, 2014, plaintiff Stephen Handrop, 30, a delivery truck driver, was driving a box truck on Interstate 8, in San Diego, with his cruise control activated when he rear-ended a tractor-trailer operated by Pedro Espinoza-Barragan, who was driving uphill in the far right (slow) lane. Handrop sustained to a leg. Handrop sued Espinoza-Barragan and Espinoza-Barragan’s employers, Susana Acosta and Sigifredo Romero-Acosta, who was doing business as Chachos Transport. Handrop alleged that Espinoza-Barragan was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that Acosta and Romero-Acosta were vicariously liable for Espinoza-Barragan’s actions. Handrop claimed that he did not know he was approaching Espinoza-Barragan’s truck because Espinoza-Barragan failed to have his flashers on or have reflective tape on the back of the trailer. Defense counsel contended that Espinoza-Barragan was driving with his flashers on at 35 to 40 mph while transporting scrap metal. Counsel also contended that there were “slow truck” signs on the roadway and that tractor-trailers cannot maintain highway speeds uphill. Counsel conceded that the reflective tape on the back of the trailer was worn out, but asserted that, regardless, Handrop should have seen the flashers and been able to avoid the collision. The defense’s visibility expert opined that Handrop should have been able to see the obviously visible flashing lights at least 500 feet away from the tractor-trailer., The front of Handrop’s truck was crushed up to his legs, causing a crush injury to one leg. Handrop was given a tourniquet at the scene and taken to a hospital. He ultimately had to have a leg amputated above the knee and he was fitted with a prosthetic leg. Handrop did not go back to work. Handrop sought recovery of $415,000 in past medical costs, $150,000 in past lost wages and $350,000 in future lost wages. He also sought recovery of future medical costs and damages for his past and future pain and suffering. According to defense counsel, Handrop presented a life care plan of $6 million and asked the jury to award over $16 million. Defense counsel argued that Handrop could still work.
Superior Court of San Diego County, San Diego, CA

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