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.”