Car accident case study for reckless tow truck driver and negligent employer help accountable by atty John Aylor

Car accidents are an unfortunate reality. Yet, some collisions go beyond mere happenstance when they result from the glaring negligence of the at-fault party. In this case study, we will examine one of those such cases. It involves both a negligent driver and their employer, who failed in their duty to thoroughly vet and train their drivers. Adding insult to injury, the at-fault parties refused to take responsibility for their actions until a personal injury lawsuit forced their hand. The victim in this case, a polite, soft-spoken 26-year-old North Charleston woman, contacted our firm after being badly injured in a wreck with a tow truck that ran a red light. Attorney John Aylor, alongside Case Manager Mary Muckenfuss, took on the challenge of representing the victim of this needless crash.

Tow Truck Driver Blows Through a Red Light Causing Multiple Injuries

On a brisk fall day, our client was traveling down Ashley Phosphate Road in North Charleston in her Honda sedan. When the left turn signal turned green, she proceeded to turn onto Palmetto Commerce Parkway and was unexpectedly slammed into head-on by a Dodge tow truck. Despite having a red light, the truck’s driver made no effort to stop the impending accident, causing a horrific impact and multiple injuries for our client.

In the immediate aftermath of the accident, our client was transported to Trident Medical Center by ambulance. She was experiencing severe pain in her back, chest, and foot.

After being released from the hospital, she was seen by an orthopedic doctor who diagnosed her with the displacement of a lumbar intervertebral disc and recommended physical therapy. She was still dealing with pain in her foot over a month later and was referred to a foot specialist. The doctor determined she had a talus fracture, which she had been walking on since the time of the crash. They put her in a cast for three months. Then, a boot for another three months, which was followed by more physical therapy. Despite these efforts, she still experienced significant pain, forcing her to undergo steroid injections.

In addition to enduring the pain, she also had to deal with significant changes in her lifestyle. Before the accident, she was a young woman living independently on her own. Then, suddenly, she had to move back in with her family due to her limited mobility resulting from the crash.

To add insult to her already severe injuries, the victim faced serious challenges in obtaining fair compensation. While emphasizing the importance of sound legal counsel, her attorney, John Aylor, noted, “Injured people should be able to rely on at-fault parties to admit when they mess up and to apologize for their actions. Unfortunately, in this case, that wasn’t going to happen. If our client had not hired an attorney, she probably wouldn’t have gotten anything.”

At-Fault Driver and Their Employer Deny Fault Even in the Face of Video Evidence

Atty. Aylor immediately got to work on the case by reviewing the police report, interviewing witnesses, and gathering evidence.  Critically, he was able to track down a witness who agreed to provide him with his dash cam footage of the collision showing the tow truck driver blowing through the red light

He scheduled multiple depositions, including ones for the tow truck driver and his employer, since he was operating a company vehicle when the incident occurred. Despite being tracked down by our investigator and summoned to the deposition by a subpoena, the driver of the truck evaded any interaction with our firm.

His employer, however, was forced to appear for a video-recorded deposition. Atty. Aylor was confident that with the evidence he had gathered the employer would not put on a good showing while being video-recorded which could later be used at trial if necessary.  During his deposition, the company owner vehemently refused to accept responsibility on behalf of the defendant driver, despite irrefutable evidence in the form of witness testimony and dash cam footage from another driver waiting at the intersection. During the investigation, it had also come to light that the driver of the truck did not have a valid license. It had been suspended since 2011 – over a decade prior to the crash! The driver also had a laundry list of criminal charges and traffic violations which led Atty. Aylor to inquire further into the hiring and vetting of the company’s drivers.

While the owner of the company claimed safety was their number one priority, it became clear that this was just a façade. Aylor uncovered evidence showing the owner relied on his insurance broker to vet drivers, did not run background checks, and did not require them to be drug tested. “It was appalling that during the deposition the owner of the business appeared nonchalant and undisturbed by the lack of safeguards instituted by his business and the resulting harm caused to our client,” remarked Atty. Aylor.

The owner of the company did everything in his power to deny liability, even throwing out wild accusations that our client was the one to blame. A dubious claim considering the clear evidence that showed his driver running a red light and victimizing our client. Because of the company’s callous disregard for our client, Atty. Aylor not only pursued compensatory damages to help his client recoup medical bills, time off work, pain and suffering, and future medical treatment but also punitive damages.

Punitive damages, available in rare circumstances, are meant to punish the wrongdoing of others. In this case, Atty. Aylor pursued the full policy limits to punish the company because of its reckless hiring practices. Because of their willful and wanton conduct, a driver, who should never have been behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle, shattered the life of an innocent, young woman. When seeking punitive damages, the hope is that by applying the maximum amount of pressure available, the company will change the way it conducts business, thereby, reducing the likelihood of creating another unsuspecting victim.

Defense Agrees to Pay Policy Limits After Employer Deposition

After the owner’s deposition, Atty. Aylor wanted to dig further into the negligence of the company and increase the pressure to pay the commercial policy insurance limits to our client. He subpoenaed more employees from the company for depositions. As the threat of a trial drew closer, the defense attorneys realized how weak a position they were in and agreed to pay out all of the funds available through the company’s commercial insurance policy. During the course of our representation, our client had amassed over $70,000 in medical bills, with continued treatment planned. After almost two years of grinding, when reflecting on the case, Atty. Aylor said:  “The video evidence saved the day. That irrefutable evidence coupled with the owner admitting to a lack of training, supervision, and vetting of his employees sealed their fate.  I had a patient, trusting, and well-deserving client who I took pride in representing.”

Disclaimer: Past results do not guarantee future outcomes.