We thought you might like to see a check for payment of a hard fought injured trucker’s case, in Tampa federal court, in which the judgment on the jury trial verdict was upheld on appeal. While no past indication of success in someone else’s case is any guaranty of success for your case, we hope this check shows you that we can fight the big boys and win. The offer before trial was less than $2,500, and the offer while the jury was deliberating was $50,000. We persevered, and our client’s desire to have justice served resulted in a fair verdict for our brain injured client. Florida Bar required language: “Most cases result in a lower recovery. It should not be assumed that your case will have as beneficial a result.”
Our client was an Auberndale, Florida based trucker delivering a load of beer to the Anheuser Busch St. Louis warehouse late one evening. After he was signed off for delivery, he moved his 18 wheel truck and trailer from against the bay door, so that he could close the trailer’s back doors. After pulling forward about 10 feet, he got out, closed the left back door first and then the right. When he closed the right, he felt pressure against the door, heard glass break, looked up, was knocked to his knees, and that’s the last thing he remembers. Although he was able to get back in his truck, drive away, and complete his run all the way back to Florida, his memory was blacked out for the next five days, he is mildly brain damaged, and he’s never driven a truck since; he has no short term memory anymore, and lost his house and his job.
Since our best witness, our client, was brain damaged and can’t remember, since the person who signed off on his delivery left immediately after for another part of the warehouse, and since no witnesses came forth to say what happened at the extremely secure premises, we had to piece together the days before and the days after with his trucker’s log, hospital records, police records, and witnesses other than direct eye witnesses to the accident. Through records and those witnesses, we were able to document all but a six minute sequence in the client’s life that fateful day. Before the six minutes commenced, we were able to establish our client was in good health, without any cut on his head (last witness to see him healthy was the Anheuser Busch clerk who signed off on the delivery receipt). After the six minute sequence ended, he was injured (a policeman who made a random safety stop testified that the trucker had blood on his face, a cut on his head, and he sent him to the hospital – letting him drive there on his own!). Another trucker witness testified to making a delivery at the same bay days later and seeing an empty conduit with wires hanging from it where a heavy overhead industrial light (40 pounds) should have been but was now missing. Under the overhang of the warehouse bay area, he saw a broken overhead light swept up. However, Anheuser Busch’s maintenance records did not reflect any broken light for that time period.
We felt it was obvious that our client had been hurt by a falling overhead light at the Anheuser Busch St. Louis warehouse on the date and time in question. Since there were, literally, hundreds of bays with the same overhead lights that were high enough to clear the top of a standard semi trailer door, we believed that a light like that does not fall down into a position where a truck door can contact it causing it to fall, unless the premises owner has been negligent. (Lawyers call this a “res ipsa loquitor” case.) However, Anheuser Busch didn’t think it was obvious, and there was no direct eye witness. Tough case, with a permanently and severely injured, brain damaged client. After a week of trial, the jury agreed with us, having sifted through volumes of medical records and Anheuser Busch records and listening to the testimony of over 15 witnesses, including truckers, warehouse workers, the one policeman, maintenance people, family members, friends, expert neurologists, expert psychiatrists, expert psychologists and an economist expert in vocational rehabilitation. Justice served.