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Sarasota County, FL

The plaintiff was sitting on the curb of a sidewalk in Sarasota waiting for a bus when the defendant’s truck (pulling a wood chipper) jumped the curb and struck him. The plaintiff contended that the defendant’s employee (also a defendant in the case) was not taking due care while driving the vehicle and caused severe and life-altering injuries to the plaintiff. The defendants argued that the collision occurred as a result of failure of the truck’s brakes. The defense also contended that the plaintiff should not have been sitting on the curb and was comparatively negligent.

Evidence showed that the plaintiff was sitting on the curb of US Route 41 on March 16, ________, with his feet in the street at the intersection with Shamrock Boulevard in Sarasota. The plaintiff was waiting for a bus at the time. The defendant driver was driving a tree service truck, with a wood chipper attached, on US Route 41. As the truck approached the intersection of Shamrock Boulevard, the plaintiff claimed that the defendant driver failed to notice that the vehicles in front of him were stopped at the light. In order to avoid a collision, the plaintiff contended that the defendant driver veered the rig to the right. The truck ran up onto the curb and over top of the plaintiff before overturning and coming to rest in the intersection. Witnesses who saw the accident indicated that it appeared that the defendant driver did not notice that the vehicle in front of him was stopped, causing him to slam on his brakes and veer to the right across two lanes and into the right turn lane before running onto the curb.

The plaintiff was 21 years old, unemployed and actively looking for work at the time of the incident. He was diagnosed with multiple fractures as a result of the collision, including fractures of both superior and both inferior pubic rami, pelvic ring fractures, right subtrochanteric femur fracture, left intertrochanteric femur fracture, bilateral pelvic fracture, left hip intertrochanteric fracture and femoral shaft fracture. The plaintiff underwent open reduction and internal fixation with intramedullary nail, closed reduction and percutaneous screw fixation to sacrum to both left and right sacral fractures. He also required closed reduction of anterior pelvis using external fixation. In addition, the plaintiff underwent urethra reconstruction, full thickness skin graft from hip to thigh (left), left thigh lateral compartment release, evacuation of deep hematoma through medial left thigh, incision and debridement of a left buttock wound and application of large wound VAC.

The plaintiff’s physicians opined that the plaintiff has been left with chronic pain syndrome requiring continuing pain management including placement of a possible pain pump in the future. The plaintiff also claimed long-term bladder control issues due to the bladder and urethra reconstruction. His doctors described ongoing leakage issues and the potential that the plaintiff will have to wear bladder control undergarments for the remainder of his life. The plaintiff’s life care expert opined that the plaintiff could only work in a limited capacity due to his physical limitations. This expert also opined that retraining was possible for work in a light duty capacity.

The defendants contended that there was a failure in the braking system of the truck which caused the vehicle not to stop appropriately. Additionally, the defense maintained that the plaintiff should not have been sitting on the curb at the intersection while waiting for the bus and that in doing so; he is partially liable for the injuries he sustained. The defense argued that the plaintiff could return to the same type of work that he was doing prior to the collision. He was previously employed at a sandwich shop. The defendant maintained that the plaintiff’s physical limitations were overstated. The defense also questioned the plaintiff’s need for a pain pump and whether the plaintiff would, in fact, go ahead with the placement of the pain pump.The case settled for a total of $________ at mediation.

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