Firm Newsletter: October, 2017

Click here to download a printable pdf of this newsletter.

MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT ISSUE
I-95 Crash Results in $800,000 Settlement During Trial

In a case that presented us with difficult liability facts, we obtained an $800,000 settlement for a client who struck the rear of a parked tow truck on I-95. The client, a senior in college, was driving home after a Phillies game. Another vehicle had broken down and a tow truck was called to the scene. The tow truck operator had his standard lights on but he did not engage his flashers or strobe light, and the truck was partially parked in the lane of travel. As a result of the accident, our client suffered broken ribs, a fractured clavicle and scarring on her abdomen and chest. We were able to recreate the accident using a variety of experts and computer aided graphics and video which showed that our client thought the vehicle was moving when, in fact, it was stopped on the highway. We were then able to prove that since the tow truck was parked partially on the highway, the driver and the towing company violated various codes and federal regulations regarding commercial vehicles.

$1 Million Settlement for Defective Airbag

We represented the estate of a woman who was killed when her airbag deployed in a very low speed crash – a one car accident in an empty parking lot. The woman, 60 years old at the time, had recently received her learner’s permit and went to the parking lot with her son-in-law to practice driving. She was a very slight woman, approximately 5’2″ and weighed less than 105 lbs. At the
time of the accident, the car was traveling less than 20 m.p.h., but due to the defective design of the vehicle, when the airbag was deployed it struck her head, breaking her neck and killing her instantly. Our discovery revealed that the automobile manufacturer did no testing to determine if it was safe for drivers who were small in stature, and several of our experts established that the airbag was unsafe as it was designed. After several rounds of mediation, the case was eventually settled.

Trucking Accident Yields Sizable Settlement

Shaffer & Gaier was able to secure a sizeable settlement for a driver who was rear-ended by a tractor trailer (the terms of the settlement require us to keep the amounts strictly confidential). Our client was traveling in New Jersey and was stopped in a traffic jam. The driver of an 18 wheel tractor trailer smashed into her vehicle, causing her significant injuries. Although our client had
neck and back injuries, her main complaint was to her hearing: due to the deployment of the air bags, our client had constant ringing in her ears and suffered hearing loss. Shaffer & Gaier provided expert testimony that proved that the ringing in her ears was caused by the auto accident. As a result of this, we secured a substantial settlement on her behalf.

THIS ONE TIME, IN COURT…
Incredible (and sometimes downright unbelievable) stories of things that happened with cases.
(Really, they did.)

“Not for nuttin’, but…”

We were in the fifth day of a jury trial in Philadelphia for a very serious and complicated motor vehicle accident. A commercial truck had crashed into our client’s car on I-95, shutting the highway down for six hours. The case was hotly contested on liability and damages. We had five experts; the defendant had four. We expected the trial to last at least two weeks.

Our last expert was an accident reconstructionist. He was on the stand explaining the mechanics of the accident and our theory of liability. Having lived and worked his entire life in New York, he had a thick Brooklyn accent.

During his testimony, we were called to sidebar on the far side of the courtroom from the witness stand. Suddenly, a court clerk ran to the stand and said something to the expert and a juror. Without knowing what, if anything, was discussed, the defendant’s lawyer demanded a mistrial, claiming the entire jury was now tainted by the personal interaction between witness and juror #6. The jury was then dismissed for the weekend.

On Monday, the trial judge questioned each juror if they heard or saw anything; they all said they had not. It turned out that juror #6 innocently asked our expert “How’s New York?”, to which our expert even more innocently replied “American League or National?” He was an avid Yankees fan.

The judge appropriately dismissed juror #6. The trial continued, and we settled a few days later while the jury was deliberating.

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