On March 17, 2001, Alan Jenkins (the client’s name has been changed for confidentiality reasons) was traveling down Interstate 26 in rush hour traffic. Mr. Jenkins was following a tractor trailer carrying an oversized load. Unfortunately, the driver of the tractor trailer did not have an over-size permit for his load, and he was violating a number of South Carolina laws.

When the tractor trailer came to a highway overpass, the load, later identified as a manufacturing loom being shipped to Kentucky, hit the overpass. A piece of steel flew off of the trailer and crashed through Mr. Jenkins’s windshield at 55 miles per hour, crushing Mr. Jenkins’ skull. The diagrams show the damage to Mr. Jenkins’ skull that the doctors later found, and the repairs that were needed. After causing these horrible injuries, the driver of the tractor trailer stopped, unhooked his trailer, and fled the scene.

The family immediately hired the Joye Law Firm due to their concerns about protecting their rights. Reese Joye, the firm’s senior partner, quickly obtained a temporary restraining order, prohibiting anyone from moving the trailer, as it was crucial evidence in the case. A lawsuit was also filed against a number of trucking companies. Each of these companies denied any responsibility for the actions of the driver, claiming that he was not acting with their authority.

The Joye Law Firm aggressively pursued the case for over 3 ½ years. Attorney Angus M. Lawton was brought in to work on the liability part of the case, and Mark Joye helped establish the damages, which were significant.

“Accidents involving trucking companies can be very complex, and it takes a great deal of analysis to determine who the responsible parties are,” said Mr. Lawton. Given the brokers and leasing agents involved in this case, I would liken it to putting together a Rubik’s Cube.”

The Joye Law Firm retained numerous experts during the case, including an accident investigator who immediately surveyed the scene, two trucking experts, a vocational counselor, a lifecare planner, and an economist. Mr. Jenkins’ treating physicians were also prepared to testify regarding Mr. Jenkins’ injuries.

During the course of discovery, the Joye Law Firm attorneys took over 30 depositions in nine different states. These depositions were necessary to establish which trucking companies were responsible for the actions of the driver. Three of these trucking companies delayed the case by filing for bankruptcy protection.

Despite these delays caused by the bankruptcy proceedings, the Joye Law Firm attorneys persevered in pursuing the case and bringing the matter towards closure. The attorneys also had to monitor criminal charges which were ultimately brought against the driver of the load.

The case was aggressively litigated due to the severity of Mr. Jenkins’ injuries. Motions for Summary Judgment were filed by at least four different defendants, and the Joye Law Firm successfully defended all summary judgment motions which were heard. The case was also mediated twice in an effort to bring resolution to the claim.

Ultimately, the case was set for trial in May of 2005. Three weeks before the trial was to take place, the Defendants made a joint offer, and the case was settled for $4,375,000.00. Some of the funds were used to purchase a structured settlement, which will provide Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins with guaranteed income for many years in the future. “We recognize that most truckers do a great job, and our standard of living depends on them,” said Reese Joye. “Unfortunately, like all professions, there are some renegades, and our client had the misfortune of being behind one. Our client could never be made whole because of the injuries that he has. However, I am pleased that we were able to obtain a result that will help him weather this tragic accident from a financial standpoint.”

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

Recent Blog Post
Are Illnesses Covered Under Workers’ Compensation?

Picking up an illness as a result of your job can significantly affect your work duties. In 2020, workplace illnesses forced approximately 4,200 South Carolinians to take time off work or change their job duties. If your illness keeps you…

Why Thanksgiving is One of the Deadliest Holidays

It might come as a surprise that Thanksgiving, a holiday of gratitude and togetherness, is among the most dangerous in the U.S. Thanksgiving sees increased rates of fires, drunk driving, and serious injuries. Some of these injuries may leave victims…

personal injury attorney
How Do I Choose a Good Personal Injury Lawyer in South Carolina?

If you were hurt in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence in South Carolina, you’ll likely have concerns about your health, finances, and future. Serious injuries can disrupt your life, requiring money you never anticipated for medical bills, lost…

How Much Insurance Do Big Trucks Need?

Commercial trucks can cause devastating harm when involved in collisions with passenger vehicles. In 2020, 71% of those killed in truck crashes were the occupants of passenger vehicles. Those harmed in truck crashes may be able to seek compensation for…

Awards & Recognition
Media
CBS News
Fox
NBC
ABC