After the crash, the truck driver was transported by ambulance to the hospital. In the ambulance and at the hospital, he reported he had an unexpected coughing fit, then passed out before the crash. If this was true, it would be a complete defense to any case against him and his employer under the sudden incapacitation doctrine, and Officer Rogers could not recover a penny. The hospital doctors diagnosed the truck driver with pneumonia causing vasovagal syncope, which confirms he coughed so hard he passed out. The truck driver’s doctor corroborated this diagnosis when he followed up. The medical report of these diagnoses was sent to the police department which had cited the truck driver. The department rescinded the citation. Undeterred, we sued the truck driver and the gas company.
Finally, the geometry of the roadway proved crucial. Through several data points, we discredited the truck driver’s account of losing consciousness prior to impact. Since there was a left-hand bend in the road prior to the crash scene, and the truck made a flush impact with the back of the parked car, it was clear the gas truck navigated that left turn and then straightened out before impact. Had he passed out at some point during the turn, as he initially claimed, he would have ended up in the woods instead. This point proved sufficient to convince the parties involved that our case would ultimately prevail, regardless of what the truck driver claimed, and what the doctors believed.
After lengthy litigation proceedings this case resolved at mediation for $300,000.00. This completely compensated Officer Rogers for every penny of overtime and detail pay he missed while he was out of work and more. It was a privilege working with Officer Rogers to reach a just result for his case.
- Zachary M. Ballin, Esq.