Case details

Plaintiff was run over after rushing back to truck: defense





Result type

Not present

annular tear, anxiety, back, brain, brain injury, bulging disc, burns, cervical, chest, cognition, concentration, depression, disc protrusion, double vision, ears, eye, fracture, hemopneumothorax, impairment, knee, lumbar, medial meniscus, mental, neck, neurological, neuropsychological, nose, posterior cruciate ligament, psychological, ptosis hip, radiculopathy, rib, sensory, shoulder, speech, spondylosis, sprain, tear, tinnitus, traumatic brain injury, vision
On Sept. 14, 2011, plaintiff Damon Redman, 38, a heavy equipment mechanic, was in the course and scope of his employment with Hayward Baker Inc., a large multinational geotechnical construction company. That morning, Paul Zavala, a commercial truck driver with McCarty & Sons Towing, delivered a 200,000 pound piece of equipment — the housing to a large crane — to Hayward Baker’s yard in Santa Paula. Zavala drove a 104-foot-long tractor-trailer combination rig to deliver the equipment on a “low boy” flatbed. His rig also had a second, shorter, trailer, known as a dolly or booster trailer, which trailed the much longer low boy trailer. Zavala required a special permit to drive his rig as it was configured. Redman was one of three Hayward Baker employees responsible for removing the crane housing from Zavala’s trailer. The removal of the crane took about one hour. Afterward, Zavala drove forward 30 feet and stopped in order to allow Redman and his coworkers time to remove the crane’s wood support beams or dunnage — used to support the crane housing during transport — from the trailer. Zavala claimed that before he departed, he looked out his rear window and into his side mirrors and that Redman was last seen standing to the right rear of the two flatbed trailers. Zavala determined that he was safe to pull his big rig forward, but as he drove away, he saw out of his passenger side mirror an item tumble to his right. He recognized the item to be the remote control for the crane housing and stopped his rig. When Zavala exited the cab, he discovered Redman lying trapped under the right rear wheels of the 11,000-pound dolly trailer. After eight minutes, Zavala and bystanders were able to use a nearby crane to lift the dolly trailer off of Redman’s chest. Redman was conscious the entire time and due to the pressure from the trailer on his chest, his head swelled considerably, blood poured out of his nose and ears, and he was temporarily blinded. Redman claimed multiple bodily from the incident. Redman sued Zavala and his employer, B E McCarty Inc., which was doing business as McCarty & Sons Towing. Redman alleged that Zavala was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that B E McCarty Inc. was vicariously liable through the course and scope of Zavala’s actions with the company. Redman later amended his complaint to include other parties, but they were let of the case prior to trial. The matter ultimately proceeded to a stipulated bifurcated trial. Redman’s counsel contended that Redman’s job required him to work in close proximity to Zavala’s rig and that Zavala should have known of Redman’s presence near the wheels of Zavala’s dolly trailer. Counsel also contended that Zavala was negligent for failing to adequately clear his rig before and during his departure from the Hayward Baker yard. Specifically, counsel contended that Zavala did not check his mirrors properly, that Zavala did not make his departure known to Redman or others by words, signals, or sounds — such as blasting his horn or pumping his air brakes — and that Zavala failed to do a walk-around inspection of his rig before departure, which would have led to the discovery of the remote control that Redman went back to get — if that is indeed what Redman was doing, as alleged by the defense. However, Redman denied that he was going to retrieve the remote control, and he claimed that there was evidence to support such a claim. Zavala alleged that he did check his mirrors properly and that he did make his intended departure clear to Redman and his coworkers. He claimed that Redman was clear of his big rig seconds before his departure, but that Redman moved from a position of safety to a position of danger without his notice. As such, Zavala claimed that he did not need to take further safety steps before his departure. Furthermore, defense counsel argued that Redman’s work did not require him to be where he was at the time of the accident. Counsel contended that the only reason Redman was there was because he forgot that he left his remote control on the flatbed of Zavala’s departing rig and that Redman rushed back to get it, causing him to get stuck under the wheels of the dolly trailer in the process., The trial was bifurcated. Damages were not before the court. Redman claimed he sustained numerous , including a traumatic brain injury; a grade IV spleen laceration (requiring surgery); a collapsed lung; a hemopneumothorax; fractures of left ribs 3-9; a closed fracture of the lumbar vertebra; a 2-millimeter disc protrusion and annular tear at L4-5; lumbosacral radiculopathy at L5; a 2-millimeter disc bulge at C5-6; a 1-millimeter disc bulge at C6-7; compression fractures of the anterior wedge at T8-9 and T9-10; mild spondylosis of the thoracic spine; a closed fracture of the left scapula; left rotator cuff tendinitis; abrasions and burns to the trunk of his body; a subconjunctival hemorrhage; a kidney injury; hypoxia; hypercarbia; tears of the left knee’s medial meniscus and posterior cruciate ligament; bone bruising of the fifth toe and navicular, lateral cuneiform and cuboid bones in the right foot; and various other . Redman was subsequently rushed by ambulance to an emergency room and remained hospitalized for three weeks, during which he allegedly nearly died from pneumonia and an infection. After his discharge, he treated with no fewer than 15 additional medical providers and his post-discharge care consisted of thoracic spine decompression/discectomy surgery, a left knee reconstruction surgery, physical therapy, orthopedic care, eye care, neuropsychological testing, and vocational rehabilitation. Redman claimed that his residual include cognitive deficits from his brain injury, including memory loss, frustration, irritability, and reduced attention span and concentration. He also claimed he suffers diplopia (double vision), tinnitus (ringing in the ears), urinary frequency, depression, anxiety, dizziness, permanent ptosis (drooping eyelid), and other problems. Redman further claimed he was unable to return to work after the accident and would be unable to work in any capacity in the future. Thus, Redman sought recovery of $532,974.22 in past medical costs, $44,000 in future medical costs, $171,024 in past lost earnings, and $1,289,602 in future lost earnings. He also sought recovery of damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel did not dispute the majority of Redman’s or past treatment, but asserted that Redman had no future care needs. (According to plaintiffs’ counsel, defense counsel actually disputed all of Redman’s post-discharge care — including the need for back and shoulder surgery, physical therapy, orthopedic care, eye care, neuropsychological testing, and vocational rehabilitation — in addition to disputing Redman’s alleged future care needs. Plaintiffs’ counsel also claimed that defense counsel asserted that Redman was fine after being discharged and that any subsequent treatment was unnecessary.) Defense counsel agreed that Redman would likely lose future earnings, but asserted that Redman could be re-trained to work in some non-physical capacity.
Superior Court of Ventura County, Ventura, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case